bdrrr.com

Welcome to my digital world.

9 Months Later

Wow, it has been almost 9 months since publishing a blog post here!

Most of the time I drop some internet picks and other short content on my Tumblr: bdrrr.tumblr.com

I also created a new Tumblr a few weeks back:
BDRD2DS: BDR Day To Day Solutions
bdrd2ds.tumblr.com
Which I describe the following way:
My Day To Day Solutions.
When we look for a solution to a problem, internet is always a good starting point. Most of the time, I find what I need to know thanks to Google, Youtube, Quora, forums, etc…
I figured I would save each of my searches to share them through the right tags.
Enjoy.

A few new Tech posts coming up after the break!

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Combining Current Technologies to Make our Pedestrian Life Better/Safer

Lets talk about health and technologies. Not Life-Science, but what new telecommunication technologies can do for our health. For sure there is a lot done by new technologies already:

This is all great, however it is not responding to some problems such as new technologies creating health problems. One example I have recently been readying about:
Serious Injuries Have Tripled Among Walkers Wearing Headphones. This study from Injury Prevention reported by the WebMD article, explains how people listening to their iPlayers, lose consciousness of their environment and can get in dangerous situations at pedestrian crossings for instance.
Most people listening to their iPlayers in a public environment, want to be in their “Bubbles”, listening to their own music, not the Gym music, not the Subway loud noises, not the side-walk loud conversations. I think the Walkman then Discman and now MP3 players have been and are great in that sense, as they allow you to listen to music and audiobooks everywhere and at any time, to get you to relax and take a break from the outside world, if you need to. 

Now going back to the study, the conclusion says “The use of headphones with handheld devices may pose a safety risk to pedestrians, especially in environments with moving vehicles”. Lets say this is only at street crossing. How could this be fixed? 

Here is what I thought about it while reading the article as I believe this problem created by a new technology (iPlayers having becoming cheaper and mainstream) can be fixed by new technologies:

 

  • It is a question of location near a pedestrian crossing. Solution would be to pause or reduce the music volume while crossing in order to 1) make the pedestrian notice there is a crossing, and 2) make the pedestrian aware it has to “step out of its Bubble” for 3 seconds while crossing. The technology already exists to make your Smartphone / iPlayer react intelligently to your environment. For instance, this can be done through Aware Wining App “Locale”. As explained by the makers on the website: “With Locale, you create situations specifying conditions under which your phone’s settings should change”.
  • It is a question of telecommunication between the Smartphone or the iPlayer and the Traffic Signal / Sign at the crossing of 2 streets / roads. The solution would come from technologies such as Wifi, Bluetooth, RFID or NFC. Technology such as NFC, “Near Field” technology, is specific to millimetres communications, therefore maybe too short. Bluetooth and Wifi might need a password or identification process. However I am sure it is possible to have a Smartphone or iPlayer scanning for Wifi or Bluetooth signals with a specific meaning, not requiring any identification, which would just be a recognition process to identify the proximity of a street / road crossing. If there was a need of identification, I am thinking EAP-SIM for Wifi for instance. The best solution would probably come from RFID and its application to highway electronic toll collection. I experienced it in Portugal at high speed. If you can do it at 120km/h (65 mph), for sure you can do something fairly similar in a street at pedestrian pace.
  • It is a question of long lasting battery as Wifi / Bluetooth / RFID communications would need to be switched on at least during the entire time while in the streets. The solution comes from manufacturers current efforts to enhance their batteries technologies. Samsung is looking at it and Motorola has came back to the market with a solution, the DROID RAZR MAXX: 3,300 mAh battery in a 8.99 mm body for 145 grams (as a reference, the infamous iPhone 4S has a 1,432mAh battery in a 9.3 mm body for 140 grams).

 

I believe software, hardware and physics concerns are not problematic in this “Serious Injuries Have Tripled Among Walkers Wearing Headphones” problem as pointed out just above. Therefore manufacturers, smartphone designers, programmers, mayors, and whomever can do something about it, just do something to save lives. 

If you don’t do it to save people lives, at least do it to save Apple customers! More than 300 millions iPods and about 170 millions iPhones sold. That’s a lot of Pedestrians and Rollerskaters!

 

My take on Startups’ Long Roadmaps

Back in November 2011, Fred Wilson wrote an interesting post on “Long roadmaps”. Good insight, good comments discussion too. Interesting to read about Foursquare development plans by the way.
A month later, I visited a friend in Lille (France) who is building a startup, Biztoo. It is a web service to build relations between local businesses and their customers. For a few months now my friend Guillaume and I, we have been discussing his ideas, what he is building, what he has in mind. Now that the v1.1 is out, he explained to me his vision for Biztoo’s roadmap and where he is heading. V1.2 is around the corner and a text file on his PC has every ideas listed for v2.0: xxx, v3.0: yyy… Step by Step developments and requirements based on the previous additions. 

I was impressed by his ideas defined so early in the creation of the young web service (not even a year old). However, I believe it is hard to stick to the one ideal path founders have in mind. Take the example of www.fab.com: great business with successful story today, but it faced a bumpy road a few months back (Fab Forward: How Fab.com Found a Niche in a Design Deal Social Hub). 

Through a random usage of Shazam, I thought about the “Long Roadmap” blog post mentioned above: recently I used Shazam to find the song below as I am bad at knowing song’s titles and authors!

 

So now regarding this post, what’s the connection between Fred Wilson “Long Roadmaps” post, my friend’s development plans for its growing website, and Shazam? 

As mentioned above, I used Shazam to know the tittle of “Boney M – Rasputin”. That’s when I discovered LyricPlay:

 

I always thought Shazam was great, had a huge potential, was loved by everyone, and generated an enormous positive word of mouth. However, I was never sure how they would turn that great idea into a profitable service considering that I expected most users not being willing to pay for the service (Recently Shazam announced it was bringing back unlimited free music tagging after trying a freemium strategy). 

When I used Shazam’s LyricPlay for the first time, it started to display the lyrics on my smartphone’s screen, scrolling up StarWars Intro style, synchronized to the music, I was excited about the discovery. That’s when it stroked me: when the makers of the Shazam smartphone App created it, they started doing the basic: just the tagging. I would bet they already had in mind all the potential ramifications: iTunes links, social friends’ tags, Artist Tour info, Youtube Videos, and synchronised Lyrics! 

I think LyricPlay is a great experience. Shazam was a good utility to have in his pocket 24/7 but now it is also becoming fun. I guess adding some fun to a business model is never a bad thing to attract new customers and make them have a good time while using the service. 

There are great entrepreneurs out there, they have great ideas and are building great things. We are just at the beginning of some good stuff coming our way; Entrepreneurs minds are flourishing with exciting stuffs we can’t imagine yet! 

Ps: I personally started using Shazam in August 2009. I thought it was a brand new service however it has been running since 2002! Would have you thought?!

Switch from iOs to Android, big commitment issue?

It has been 25 months since I switched from an HTC Kaiser on Windows Mobile 6.5 to an iPhone 3GS. At the time I was not sure about the ‘all touch screen’ keyboard and the fact that iOS is close not allowing to install what ever I would find useful.
1 week after I never looked back. 

I started to like my new iPhone 3GS pretty quickly. It is a great phone, lighter than the Kaiser, thin and easy to hold, wide touch screen, smooth UI, etc…
I did not jump on the iPhone 4 last year as I had a 24 months contract and as I thought about taking the Android path as I am a big user of all Google services: gmail for personal emails, gmail for the email account linked to this blog, shared calendars with friends, Docs, gMaps, Translate, Google Voice while I was in the US (hopefully coming soon to Europe), Local. I am looking forward to having Navigation as well (why paying for TomTom when Google does it for free?). 

Last year, neither the Nexus S or Galaxy S made me switch. I always saw the iPhone 4 better than those 2. 

Now there is a whole new game: iPhone 4S vs Samsung Galaxy S II / Google Nexus Prime. 

In my view the S II is above the 4S (it would need an entire post to explain why), while the Nexus Prime will be a beast putting the bar even higher (if GSM Arena leaks are true). I am just waiting for the 19th of October to be convinced. Google I know you can do it. 

Having said all this, this morning I kind of thought about Android: what if it feels too different from my easy to use iOS 4.2, what if even being ‘more open’ it takes me longer to get what I need done, what if I get confused with all these widget panels that are supposed to summarize the data I need from the Apps.
Then I thought about purchase decisions of the various smartphones: iOS vs. Android is like MACs vs. PCs or like… well that’s the point, nothing else. 

For most consumers thinking about switching from PCs to MACs, it has always been a problem of being used to PCs at home and at work. Switching to the Apple side is a drastic change.
Here I am now, facing the dilemma of switching from iOS to Android, fearing to be too used and dependent on iOS.
I thought about other consumption habits which would prevent to switch from one ‘platform’ to another. I don’t see any:

  • Cars: any car in any country is the same, your own habits don’t have to change. Automatic or Manual. You buy a new car or rent one, it is easy to manoeuvre, blinkers on the left, radio in the centre, etc… And it is not a question of brands despite strong oppositions: being used to a Mercedes, you’ll ride a BMW very easily. Same things with bikes, motorcycles, boats (motor or sails), etc…
  • Home Telephones: 12 keys, plus 1 red and 1 green. That’s all you need, in any country.
  • Radio / TV: looking for a radio station or a TV channel is pretty much the same from one equipment to another. Up and Down or 9 keys on the remote.
  • Lift, bus, taxi, subway: your own habits from France are going to be the same in Los Angeles or Berlin.
  • Kitchen: microwaves are the same everywhere, fridges as well, and ovens sort of the same.
  • Laundry: a washing machine, despite some being over sophisticated, are the same, fill in, powder/gel, program, on, 45 minutes, done.

 

I am pushing it strongly on some points on purpose. If you have a Sony Bravia TV and then want to switch to a Pioneer, or a Samsung washing machine to a Whirlpool, it is just a question of new specs, not habits. 

But when it comes to computers or smartphones, all of us are now divided in 2 groups. Switching from one side to the other means thinking about it soundly and changing a lots of things:

  • Interface habits such as shortcuts, layout, etc…
  • Re-buying softwares & apps
  • Change equipment and accessories

 

I might certainly get the Nexus Prime to try Android out as I always wanted. I will make my own judgments and then if I don’t like it, I’ll get an iPhone 5, which should be a major game changer given Apple’s usual product cycles.

Europe I watch you / I listen to you. USA I can’t

As per the previous posts, I am just back from one year in New York. It was a fantastic year; I discovered plenty of new things and developed new habits.

I came back from the US with habits that I am starting to miss badly:

  • Cable TV with more than 1,000 channels… European FTA TV is not quite the same!
  • Hulu
  • Food delivery. Any kind, any time, 20mins tops!
  • Pandora / Rdio
  • Lounges, movie theatre, etc… open late at night. To do something after work
  • And so on…

 

What I am missing quite a lot are online services provided in the US only, completely restricted here in Europe:

  • Latest TV Shows online on FOX, NBC, USA websites
  • Hulu
  • Netflix
  • Pandora
  • Rdio
  • Sports videos (ESPN etc)
  • And a few more to be discussed below

 

In other words, US videos or music websites are restricted because of licensing constraints.

When in Shanghai in 2006 and now in the US in 2010/2011, I used to access online European music or videos services quite a lot, and there was almost never a restriction:

  • Deezer
  • Canal+ (the French HBO) “clear” shows’ videos. There were/are pre-roll video ads, they were/are the French ones (not US ads because of my US IP address while in NY for instance)
  • iTélé (French news channel, group Canal+)
  • Sports videos on Marca.com or As.com
  • And a few other…
It always worked and kept me “close” to home when I was homesick.
The other day, I wanted to check Turntable.fm out because of this post from Fred Wilson on his blog AVC. As Pandora and Rdio, Turntable is perfect for me as it allows users to interactively share music.
Since I left France in 2006 for an internship in China, a Master in Spain and an M&A job in London and New York, I stopped getting mp3 that I liked. Lack of time pushed me to start listening to online music. A theme, an artist, a song can start a personalised “radio”.
I use Deezer a lot. I created a few personal radios, from calm music to work, to pop for home, to house/tech music to party or model late at night. That works great for me. I remember using Pandora in 2006 while studying in Barcelona. It was not restricted at the time. I created a few lists on it. Then it got restricted for Europe. On Deezer or the other services, when I like a new song I just need to hit the “+” and put it in a “radio list”.
Same story with Last.fm by the way.
I would not be the best provider of “sounds” to Turntable as my music library is old and I don’t get new mp3, but I am excited to type a theme or type of music, get in a “room” and listen to what other would have to share.
While reading this post from AVC again, I was really intrigued in listening to DJ Woooo’s Dance/Electro Turntable room. I like Electro music and was interested in listening to a new DJ as well as intrigued to listen to what the blogger I read every day uses to listen.
I cannot access DJ Woooo’s remix, I am in Europe now. It is sad.
I wish there will soon be something done to fix that. Ads based on IP, European TV/Radio channels will be more flexible when it comes to protect the rights they acquired from US content providers, etc…
I think Europe is missing out on great services. I know I am.
This continent has more than 700 million people; this is a lot of customers, ad viewers, and so on…

Barcelona 2.0

I lived in Barcelona as a kid, from 1990 to 1993. I only have good memories of this period. I love the city, I love the culture, I love the people.
I lived there as my mother was transferred there for work. She asked to be transferred there because as a kid she lived there. It is a family thing.
And talking about family, my godmother is half french, half catalan, half spanish, and half andorran. Yes 4 halves, long story!
Therefore I have history there, friends as well as family.
Barcelona is that great city where I grew up, where I went back to do my Master of Science in 2006, and a fun place where to enjoy life.
However, I never saw it as a big digital media place.
Now that I spent a year in New York, I can compare the 2 cities. They are many things they have in common

  • The sea / the Ocean (only rivers in Paris / London)
  • Cheap cab rides
  • Easy access to the airport (compared to nightmare London or Paris)
  • Fast commute from 1 side of the city to the other – out of rush hours (take notes London!)
  • Bars, restaurants and lounges open late at night (Take notes again London!)
  • Fashion
  • Media
  • Savings banks
  • World top business schools (ESADE & IESE / Columbia and NYU)
  • Sport clubs dedication and rivalries (FC Barcelona vs RCD Espanyol / NY Giants vs NY Jets; NY Yankees vs NY Mets)
  • Big Telecom Media or Tech events: for instance Mobile World Congress 2012 for Barcelona, while New York has Web 2.0 Expo
  • Startup communities growing

 

And this is the point that interests me the most here, digital media startup communities. For instance, New York City has Gilt Group, Barcelona has Privalia; Barcelona has Groupalia, New York City has big offices for Google Offers, Groupon or LivingSocial. Having said that, I must state that Privalia and Groupalia are owned by the same people.
I did some researches recently, which led me to discover Nauta Capital, a Venture Capital fund as Union Square Ventures, Index Ventures, Accel Partners and so on… It is established in Barcelona and Boston. It is also an investor in Privalia and Groupalia.
The connection can also be seen on political angles: NYC Mayor Bloomberg wants to foster entrepreneurship and innovation in the city that never sleeps (read NYC Venture Connect to see events in NYC for that matter). For Barcelona, local authorities also want to help entrepreneurs to establish their new businesses in the Catalan capital, check Barcelona Net Activa.
Good reading on the Barcelona 2.0 subject:
Wired.co.uk August 2011
Old but interesting TechnoCalifornia blog post from 2009

No Wifi in the Eurostar

This post is about Wifi in the Eurostar trains but it is mainly to speak about wifi in long distances European transports.
I was in Paris recently. I took the Eurostar. For every Frenchie working in the City it is a ritual. 2h16 to Paris on a Friday night, last train at 8.02pm, and again early on Monday morning. 2h16 for which the 3G is not working perfectly because of the train speed, the tunnels, and when you are roaming in England or France depending on where you are coming from.
I wish there was Wifi on the Eurostar. Same with the TGV in France, Air France buses from Charles de Gaulle Paris Airport to Central Paris. Same with Regional train in France when I go to Normandy visiting my family over there.
During the 2h16 on the Eurostar I would deal with unread emails (even if now there is offline gmail), do some  online research, etc etc…
There is no wifi for now. I never understood why that tool is not provided to customers, which mainly are on business: as you can see here, out of the 750 seats, 206 are business, which is 27% of the capacity. I feel that’s high.
It is good news but definitely late compared with other transports I experienced across the world:

  • USA: national flights with Delta or AA
  • USA: buses connecting DC, Philly, NYC, and Boston
  • Mexico: bus from Cancun to Playa del Carmen
  • Japan: bus from Narita Airport to Central Tokyo; train from Central Tokyo to Narita Airport
  • France – Belgium: Talys from Paris to Brussels

 

In other words, I think nowadays almost at the doorstep of 2012, Wifi should be everywhere. As described by Marshall McLuhan, we live in a “global village”, we need to be in touch with everyone and everything, at anytime.

Hello World. Good bye New York City.

 A first post of blog serves as an introduction, to present the blogger and to explain what path the blog will take. If someone wants to blog about cooking and recipes, some sort of ‘why’ reason and some background is necessary. The greatness of blogging is, “anyone can blog about anything”. Time and pertinence will give credibility to the content.
 I want to dedicate this blog to digital media, a true passion for more than half of my life. That passion was started by my first usage of a computer in 1994, my parent’s old Olivetti with Windows 3.1. Then my true tech affair started in 1996 when I acquired my first own computer with ALL my savings. It was a Pentium III at 333Mhz with 256Mo of RAM (a monster at the time, of which I was really proud, connected to the Internet by Cable with a connection speed of 256Ko/s. At 14 years old I was a Geek. I still am, I guess.
 Now, 15 years have gone by, my tech and media addiction still going strong through middle school, high school and a scientific specialisation (French education system), 1 year of Computer Science engineering school, a Bachelor, and a Master in 2 business schools. Engineering school was great, perfect for my Geek-attitude, however not really for me. I decided that a career building tech stuff wasn’t for me but to sell it –  hence the 2 business schools. I did not end up selling tech stuff; however, now dedicated by day and partially night to M&A advisory to the TMT (Telecom Media Tech) Sector.
 1 year ago I moved to New York City, not to live the so called American Dream but to live the East Coast Tech Dream. New York, leader city in retail, media & fashion, becoming heavy on digital media with flourishing new Tech start-ups and VC firms (soon becoming a true competition to the Silicon Valley) was the perfect place to be.
Now, I am moving back to Europe after a tremendous year in The City. I learnt a lot, I am a different person, more mature, with a dream closer to becoming reality thanks to all the experience gathered in the Big Apple. An amazing experience, it truly was.
 Learning what I needed to learn, better understanding what I was not yet ready to understand, meeting amazing people, making some friends for life, these are my take-aways from my year in the City that never sleeps.
I have now just moved back to London. My goal is to move to a VC or a PE fund with digital media focus. I am still working in M&A advisory (in Europe mostly cross-border opposed to the US focus I had in NYC). Ultimately, I see myself on the buy-side and wanting to get my hands on digital media deals, helping entrepreneurs with ebullience of creative ideas, etc…
 The above tells you a bit about who I am, where I come from regarding digital media, whereas the below will answer “why blogging about it?”.The answer being:

  • Over the past 4 years I never really had time to blog. I once did, back in 2006 when I was interning in Shanghai in China. I wanted to get my family and friends to experience with me my stay there. My blog was named www.brunowhere.com (I closed it early 2007 when Facebook became big enough to do the job – this google search shows some traces of it). For these familiar with blogs, it was a dotclear platform, hosted on a Free.fr ftp (my internet provider at the time). I designed it around the theme of the movie “Catch me if you can” (I let you get the links between “Bruno where?”, “Bru nowhere!”, the movie “Catch me if you can”, my first name, and my nickname). Below are 2 headers that I designed for brunowhere.com:


  • Once arrived in NY, I wanted to start a new blog to share my discoveries on Digital Media in the City. However, I was still doing the same investment banking job, which kept me too busy during 3 years as analyst, it was still too time consuming to be able to properly blog. Therefore, I waited a year to properly set things up.
  • Here we are, not in NY anymore but definitely looking into Digital Media in Europe,  a continent  that  definitely has a ton to offer (vente-privee.com). Despite lagging behind the Bay Area and now NY, Europe is the proper play ground for someone like me, willing to take part in the rise of European digital media to its true potential.
 I have set up this Wordpress blog to express ideas, comments subjects and broadcasts news, as well as leave a trace of my personal and professional development within Digital Media.
I have also opened a Tumblr page to quickly share pictures, videos, links, quotes and everything Tumblr is perfect for to share at any time from home or on the go from my phone (currently an iPhone 3Gs but soon to be an iOs iPhone 5 or an Android Nexus Prime, depending on which one of these 2 will win the October 2011 “smartphone of the next 12 months” fight).
 My Foursquare account, just because sometimes sharing digital info about where you are, can start a lot of conversations and ideas exchanges. Also because I like to show that I move a lot! I have been teased for my numerous ‘4sq check-ins’, which are not about to stop!
My Flickr account: to share what I see. I wanted it to be a Google Picasa /Web Albums account, however WordPress works better with Flickr. Google Web Albums won’t be completely forgotten as I will used it while on Google+.
My Instagram for nice pictures on the go.
My Twitter account will be as every other Twitter account, to share in one place every single trace of my digital feeds I will create.
 With regards to Facebook, Google+ or Linkedin, I will not link these accounts into this blog. However all BdRRR.com feeds (WordPress, Tumblr, etc…) will be linked to these 3 platforms, to share them with friends and connections. I am a strong defender of anonymity on the web, as well as data privacy. As of now, this blog is not about who I am but simply about what are my ideas and interests.

 If someone wants to connect on Facebook, Google+ and Linkedin or wants my resume, please email me on bdr@bdrrr.com.
 Have fun on BdRRR.com, my digital world.