When I’m out (and sometimes when I’m in), it now doubles as a music studio. Check out this performance yesterday from Cowboys and Indians. They’re playing in between my desk and couch.
I wonder when was the last time Bob Decherd had a concert in his office?
We’re learning a lot on the TexasGigs relaunch. First full month out, we’re hitting around 3,000 visitors a day, and will hit about a half-million pageviews. We have 165 non-staff registered users. (The only features currently requiring registration are comments and custom playlists.) We had 115 user comments last week.
- There are way more active local bands than we ever thought about imagining. We currently have full profiles on 602 bands– all local. We’ll have over 800 before we’re done.
- The more we create, the more user interaction we get (via story submissions, Flickr-posted photos, comments, music submissions, etc.)
- People are really impressed by video. Even if they don’t actually watch it.
- The local hip-hop community rocks. They’ve supported us like crazy, partly because other local media doesn’t cover them very well. Long tail.
- Speaking of life in the long tail, our referring search phrases are nearly meaningless. After the first couple obvious ones, it’s lots of 3’s and 4’s for many of those 602 bands.
- Lazer is the next U2.
- This has become very clear to us: As we’ve said all along, there is no user interaction and community growth in news without a critical mass of staff-generated content. The way to have that and still be "scalable" is this: Create a mass of "evergreen" content– Band and venue information, for instance. Supplement that with easily updatable data– show information for instance. (Note that names, URLs, and addresses aren’t enough.) That sort of info-transactional data is what brings people back day after day. Then, the rest is icing. (No one wants cake without icing, mind you.) The whole trick is getting that core of data built and getting shifted into maintenence mode ASAP. We’re six weeks in and the site currently
requiresis taking up roughly 250 manhours/week. Once all the bands/venues are in, we think we can get that number down around 40. Then, we can attack the next local niche. And the next. And the next…
Oh, and while I’m here, another shill: We need some 3G Ipods and are willing to pay $100 for ’em.
So, after almost a year of work, we launched our first product today. Granted, it’s not the full-on, expansive news site we’ve been talking about (and still intend to produce), but it is, in my immodest opinion, a great start.
Cindy Chaffin, the founder and guiding light of TexasGigs, tells the story and covers the bases well and what little bit she misses is in our FAQ. So I’m just going to cover the "Inside Baseball" stuff here:
- Why call it TexasGigs and not Pegasus News? Partly because Cindy’s blog already had great cred; partly so as not to confuse folks that Pegasus News is just a music site.
- This was an opportunity to get a product into the market at a low cost and still not compromise our belief that you need to be content-rich on day one if you want to get and retain an audience.
- We couldn’t have pulled it off without Cindy’s knowledge and backlog of data; the tireless efforts of unpaid laborers-of-love Alan Cohen, Blair Lovern and Kate Mackley, among others; and the Ellington content management system — a good piece of software, but invaluable because it comes with the patience and expertise of Wilson Miner, Jacob Kaplan-Moss and Matt Croydon of World Online.
- I’m sure that there are still cleanups, holes and glitches aplenty, but for those who think that hand-aggregating content is cost-prohibitive and un-scalable, I can say this — We have the closest-to-complete database of local bands, shows and songs that our market has ever seen. Seven people built that in five weeks, without spending a nickel (not counting hooch and caffeine). We still have a lot more correcting, adding of bands, and catching up on schedules to do– but once that’s over, we think it will take the labor equivalent of one full-time person to keep it updated. Maybe more to add features.
- We got our first over-the-transom ad request two hours after we turned it on.
- We’re trying to focus a lot of our content to be of direct interest to the bands now, as we think they’ll be our most immediate audience.
- In working on the site, it’s become clear to me that Web 2.0 enables one of two choices for content providers — or maybe more accurately two ends of a continuum: You can use technology to cut your costs, or to enhance utility (or something in between). The prevailing school of thought in the market appears to be the former. We believe passionately in the latter.
I’m sure there’s more to cover, but I’m a bit on the tired side– I may expand this post later. In the meantime, check out the site and let me know what you think!
Steve Outing on our launch.
And PaidContent. Y’know, for the past year, PaidContent has been my bible, my Wall Street Journal and my Sports Illustrated all in one. Six weeks ago, I would have given naming rights to a child for a mention in it’s hallowed pixels. Now, I’d much rather see a positive bulletin post from a cover-band bassist on MySpace.
Guess that’s the difference between opening a business and blogging about starting in business.
So, I haven’t opened up Bloglines in almost a week due to our product launch (see above). So, is it bad that I was relieved just now when I took a deep breath and clicked to find their site down?
I don’t think so.
There are a lot of things I want to post about right now, but it’ll all have to wait until next week. We’ve got a site to launch.
I’m signing off until Monday– But I’ll leave you with this audio clip from Jayson Bales who dropped by our joint for a podcast yesterday. This is one awesome musician-cum-financial-planner who really gets what we’re up to.
You win some, you lose some.
Blair got into the Winter Meetings.
Kevin wasn’t so lucky:
From: Rose Bowl Media
Sent: Tuesday, December 13, 2005 11:50
Subject: Credential Status: 2006 Rose Bowl
Dear Kevin McCrea:
Due to limited space
and an overwhelming demand for credentials, we are forced to limit issuance of
credentials to those media outlets that meet the credential policy for the Bowl
Championship Series Games. That being the case, I am afraid I must deny your
request for credentials.
Well, we’ll certainly bury the Rose Bowl coverage on the new Texas Gigs (which is launching Monday even if I have to swallow my pride and stick a "beta" tag on it).
As we talk to prospective readers and partners, I’m pleasantly surprised that far fewer people than I expected are creeped out by the idea of behavioral targeting. (Or at least far fewer say so than I expected.)
Fred Wilson thinks that people understand the bargain that’s being made, and that as long as there is value to the user, people don’t mind giving up the info:
While this may be problematic in certain privacy respects, it is
hugely beneficial in most respects. Do you want to know where your
teenage daughter is at 11pm after she fails to call you as she
promised? Do you want to know where the nearest Starbucks or Jamba
Juice or subway stop is? Would you like to be able to text message your
buddies the exact location of the cool bar you are hanging out in? I
think you get the picture.
This leads me to … Matt Blumberg, who wrote a post called The New Media Deal in the spring of 2004 which remains in my mind one of the most important posts I have read in blogs in the past couple years.
In this post, Matt describes the new deal consumers are making via
technology. We are consciously or subconsciously sacrificing absolute
privacy in return for anywhere, anytime, my way content and
As Matt says in his post,
But I think it’s becoming increasingly clear that we have a New Media
Deal, which is that people are willing to sacrifice their anonymity in
a heartbeat if the value exchange is there.
we can wring our hands all we want about the privacy issues with
respect to geolocation on cell phones, or behavioral targeting on the
web, or saved search history on Google, but my feeling is that the
benefits of these technologies will vastly outweigh the loss of privacy
for most people most of the time and that’s really all that matters.
Looking at the companies in Media Orchard’s Web 2.0 logo contest, I had a realization:
Web 1.0 was "we make; you use."
Web 2.0 is "you make; you use"
Is Web 3.0 "we make/you improve; you use"?