Monthly Archives: August 2006

They’ve taken away Pluto!

How far can our lives be torn apart? If it isn’t terrorist threats it’s governments that would rather be monarchies. And if that isn’t enough, these bastard scientists have taken Pluto away, shaking the very foundations of reality. I for one am not going to stand idly by and let them get away with this. I’m going to do a video blog about it – that’ll teach them a lesson!

Here’s the Revver URL for this video, spread it around and make me rich! Now dammit!

http://revver.com/video/52442/20579

5 Comments

Filed under Video Blogging

Mr Angry’s Top 5 tips for becoming the grownup who runs things

I thought it was time to follow up my earlier post on why IT people seem to hardly ever run IT companies or even the IT department. I’ll start by repeating my original point, the biggest reason for this is that most IT people don’t want to be in charge and for good reason. The passions and goals that drive a committed IT worker are not the same goals that drive someone who wants to rise to the top levels of management.

So there’s the first lesson: in all probability, you’re going to have to adjust your goals and passions in order to succeed and be happy as a manager. In fact, “adjust” is too mild a world. If you are a “hands on” IT worker with a real passion for the work you are doing, you are going to have to leave it behind completely. And I mean completely. There’s no “keeping your hand in” by occasionally delving back into the nuts and bolts. As a manager it’s your job to manage. Trying to get involved at the detail level is selling yourself short in terms of reaching your potential as a manager and more importantly, selling your team short in terms of what they need from a manager. Be sure that you want to make this change and be honest about whether you can leave your IT work behind, because if you don’t enjoy being a manager, you won’t be successful.

The next thing to do is make sure you understand the role of both management and IT from your company’s perspective. Forget why you think IT is important, find out why the company thinks it’s important. Techies are excited by IT for its own sake. Business are excited by the outcomes created by IT. So what outcomes is your company looking for? Is it simply to support business processes, to increase productivity, to reduce expenditure, to open up new market opportunities or some combination of these things? Work out how you can translate your knowledge and skills to serve these goals. Better yet, find a way that you can expand the benefits IT provides the company without limiting the existing goals. This change in mindset is fundamental if you’re going to be a good manager.

The third thing you are going to have to do is make sure you are up to dealing with the level of interaction and communication required of a manager. Let’s be honest, the reputation of IT people being introspective and having low people skills is not totally undeserved. This is not talking about “schmoozing” and socialising for its own sake, this is talking about developing the skills needed to successfully interact with other people both inside and outside IT circles. It isn’t limited to learning how to talk to other people (although that’s important) – you need to learn how to really listen to other people and respond to them in a way that lets them know you heard and understood them.

I wouldn’t recommend a management course, most of the ones I’ve seen are a waste of time and money. The world doesn’t need more MBAs, the world needs more people with genuine passion and real experience in their field of choice. Finding a way to develop these skills while staying in your job is the best way to go. Look for a mentor in the workplace – someone whose management style you respect and preferably someone who has influence within the company. If your company has an official mentor program, all the better. If not, make the approach yourself. Genuinely good managers are usually eager to help others develop (even if they’re not your manager) and might even be flattered that you respect them enough to ask.

Another good strategy is to increase your confidence in expressing yourself in a context outside of the workplace. It may seem to have no relationship to moving up the management chain at work but you’d be amazed at how developing your confidence in one area spills over into other aspects of life, making you more confident and successful generally. Think about a public speaking group like Toastmasters. Maybe coach a sporting team. Hell, if you want to go crazy, try some standup comedy. Don’t forget written communication. Try blogging regularly if you’re not doing it already. Although don’t make it a blog where you regularly spew forth your anger at the world generally and your workplace specifically. Then you’ll have to make the blog anonymous. Trust me, you don’t want your employer finding out about that aspect of your personality.

But if you’re really driven to succeed and are sure you have exactly what it takes to succeed, here’s the top tip for you: Do it yourself! Don’t wait for the greyhairs to retire, don’t fight your way through the corporate jungle, don’t expend all your energies on workplace politics. Get out there and do it! The times have never been better for starting an IT business. With proper planning you can keep costs low and your reach is limited only by your imagination. Hell, there are people out there earning six figure incomes from blogging, imagine how well you could do if you were doing something that’s actually worthwhile! Start a Micro-ISV, develop a product, sell your services or write a book. If there’s something you can do better by yourself than you can inside the confines of a big company, don’t let anyone stop you.

So to summarise, Mr Angry’s top 5 tips for IT workers who want to run the show are:

  1. Shift your focus to management rather than being a hands-on techie
  2. Understand the company’s view of management and IT
  3. Improve your communications skills – find a mentor
  4. Build up your confidence
  5. Do it yourself!

20 Comments

Filed under Work

Coming apart at the seams

Oh god. I’m being held together by medication, adrenaline and several litres of cola today. This could charitably be called a bad combination and my body is doubtless planning its revenge on me right now. As soon as the veneer of functionality provided by these props dissipates I expect to lapse into a coma. Or maybe my brain will just leak out my ears. At the very least, this cold is going to set in and suck the life out of me.

Which is probably similar to how YouTube feels right now. It’s hard to escape the feeling that YouTube is being held together with Blu-tac and wishful thinking because it’s certainly been very shaky of late. I’ve worked in big banks and other corporations where people really lose their shit when systems go down but I imagine it’s nothing compared to the sort of hysteria going on in the halls of YouTube right now. The weight of millions of users and the expectations of investors is a good recipe for causing a major scale freak-out. Right about now, the swearing is probably getting pretty creative. They would have used up “Shut the fuck up and leave me alone, I’m trying to fix the fucking thing you shithead” the last time the system went down.

Anyway, I’m coping by “working from home” today, AKA getting paid to sit around and surf the web. I made a big show of taking the Pensky File home from work yesterday afternoon because I could feel my ill-health building up. I told the boss I was taking it so I could work from home if I felt worse today. I haven’t even looked at but I’ll have to later on because I was supposed to have finished reviewing it by tomorrow and I don’t think any George Costanza tricks will help me out. It all worked out extremely well because I was up really late preparing videos for The Blogging Times so I got to sleep in until 9.30 this morning. Then I was able to sort out some more issues with the videos that I wouldn’t have been able to do if I was at work.

This work thing totally gets in the way of blogging. Anyway, as Bubble 2.0 heats up, I’m cashing in this time. I guess I get paid more than I ever imagined I would (I’m an internet thousandaire) but when I saw the money people were making in the dotcom bubble in the late 90′s it really pissed me off that I wasn’t making out like a bandit as well. This time I think I can see the signs so I’m jockeying for position. By all accounts we’re unlikely to have a real bust again like in 2000/2001 but things are going to reach a peak and slow down.

By my reckoning, it’s about 1998 right now. The hype is starting to build up. Some of the net phenomenons are starting to impinge on mainstream consciousness. The first really big deals have been done (MySpace is the new Netscape). Now the big money is starting to circle, wondering where they can cash in. Do they go for the obvious targets (will Apple buy YouTube?) or try to build up one of the small fish (Sony just bought Grouper)?

Working out a deal with The Blogging Times isn’t going to make me rich in and of itself and that isn’t why I’m excited about the possibility. Getting involved with some smart people who are really trying to push boundaries (TBT, Howard, Chartreuse) is where the action is. Even if no real money comes out of it, the scope of the adventure has me fired up.

Last time this sort of opportunity came up it sailed right by and I got nothin’! This time I reckon I can see the wave coming. I might be a shit surfer but I’m paddling for all I’m worth.

11 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Internet

Insomnia-induced video madness

Some more videos for you today, a few things I was doing last night when I should have been sleeping. A little note as I post this (that will quickly become redundant) – YouTube has been having some weird problems for the last 24 hours or so. These videos may not work when you try them but they will eventually. Anyone who works in IT and knows YouTube have been performing “upgrades” will not be surprised there are problems. It seems every time you make changes to a major system to “improve” things you introduce a whole slew of problems that didn’t exist before. Hopefully they’ll get it sorted out soon.

This first one is a performance of one of my very early posts, all about how I’m going to open a restaurant called “No More Green Crap”:

Here’s the Revver URL for this video. Circulate it and make me rich! Ka-Ching! I’ve already made $3.45 and this is real US dollars – that makes me one of the highest paid entertainers in Australia!

http://revver.com/video/51450/20579

This next one, to be honest is pretty fucked up. I kill a bunny and drink its blood. Consider yourself fairly warned – don’t blame me if you watch it and end up permanently traumatised.

This is a YouTube specific video so it isn’t on Revver. The issue about the screwed up way YouTube picks feature videos actually does piss me off quite a bit. This is important to a shallow attention whore like me because being featured means your video will be watched hundreds of thousands of times even if it sucks. Here’s the YouTube URL if you want to share it around:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOrzuQqBVWo

Anyone who has read the comments on my previous post will know the other big video news. Howard is interested in featuring Mr Angry videos on one of his ventures, The Blogging Times. That’s right my blogrollers are not just beautiful, intelligent and talented, they are also bona fide goddam moguls! Next wave new media moguls anyway. Stay tuned for news of how this pans out.

5 Comments

Filed under Video Blogging

Why everybody is wrong about Revver

Revver is moving closer to their 1.0 release which of course means I’m closer to being rich because all it takes is someone offering the possibility of money for me to automatically make a fortune, right?  Well, probably not, but I’m getting more interested in the possibilities as Revver release more news.  Those who are paying attention would remember that my recently published “Public Service Announcements” were inspired in part by the news Revver would be giving the opportunity to send videos to mobile devices.

The latest news that made me happy was that Revver would be hosting Flash versions of videos which I think is a major step forward because this was a significant hurdle to market penetration.  I think Revver originally made the decision to host videos in QuickTime format because it’s arguably higher quality but the marginal improvement in picture quality is a poor trade-off for losing usability.  Simply put, not everyone has QuickTime but nearly everyone (98%+) has Flash.  I, for one, can’t watch QuickTime videos at work.  A fact my workplace is undoubtedly extremely grateful for.

Also, I’m hoping the advent of Flash versions of Revver videos means WordPress will support them.  WordPress are admirably cautious of the security implications of various types of embedded files but they came to a solution with YouTube.  So pretty, pretty please WordPress support folks – will you come up with a way to allow Revver videos to be added to blogs?

When I look at the coverage of Revver and what impact, if any, they will have on the online video market, the opinions seems to fall at one of two extremes of the spectrum.  The biggest supporters say Revver will kill YouTube because Revver actually shares ad income while YouTube keeps it all.  The biggest naysayers say Revver is simply too late to the game – YouTube has too much dominance and can’t be overtaken.

Here’s why they’re both wrong:

Obviously, I’m keen for the idea of making money so I like that aspect of Revver but I think this will have a negligible impact on YouTube for two reasons.  First, as I’ve stated before, the millions of people using YouTube now are doing it with no thought of being paid – not by YouTube anyway.  They want the attention and they’re getting it.  People who don’t understand the lure of attention for its own sake have never experienced it.  Second, the vast majority of what’s being posted and watched on YouTube simply won’t work on Revver.  Despite their talk of respecting copyright YouTube obviously doesn’t give a shit because if you check out their “most viewed” page you’ll see nearly all of it is either partly or wholly copyrighted material.  So in other words, no matter what happens on Revver, it’s likely to be business as usual for the majority of YouTube.

As to the folk who say Revver is simply too late, here’s two reasons they’re wrong.  First, there seems to be this strange conceit in the IT world that they way things are today is the way things will always be.  Tell that to Netscape and a dozen other IT companies who were top of the pile one day and crushed into the dirt the next.  I personally think YouTube is going to be around for a while but saying they’ll always be on top just because they are now and you can’t imagine it any other way is unsupportable logically.  Second, Revver doesn’t need the teeming masses.  It needs the best original videos that people really want to see.  And paying people who are working hard to create original content is a damn good way to get them on your side.

Put simply, “eyeballs” are overrated.  I thought people learned that in the dotcom bust.  One million viewers who generate one million dollars in ad revenue are worth a lot more to you than one hundred million viewers who generate one million dollars.  It costs a shitload for YouTube to host all their videos (they don’t publicise exactly how much but I believe shitload is an accurate technical term) and it will be an ongoing challenge for them to manage costs.  If Revver is able to generate better quality content to better quality viewers (i.e. a combination that results in proportionally more ad income) they will be winners.

The other interesting aspect of Revver’s 1.0 launch is the new Terms of Service (ToS) I had to agree to.  The intricacies of ToS for these types of sites got quite a bit of publicity recently when it was noted YouTube’s ToS seemed to say “we own your shit and we’ll do whatever we want with it and there’s nothing you can do to stop us.”  YouTube clarified that all you have to do is take your videos down and all rights revert to you.  Here’s some gems from Revver’s ToS:

“Although Revver will use reasonably commercial efforts to ensure Your Video Content is removed from the Revver Site within seventy-two (72) hours following termination, Revver shall have no obligation to remove any of Your Video Content that: (i) is otherwise publicly available through the Internet or other publicly accessible medium; or (ii) any of Your Video Content that has been re-distributed by Syndicators in the Revver Syndication Network or their end users”

This seems to be saying “Sure, we’ll try to go along with what you want but if your video is out there in the wild on other sites, why should we give a shit?”  I’m fine with this.  Check out how keen they are to restrict “adult content” – all of the following are banned:

“d)    any content which is intended to let users know that You have Adult Content materials, submissions, content or websites;

(e)    any content which, because of the nature, images, music, tone or description appears to be designed solely to solicit sexual/adult talk or thoughts;

(f)    any content that indicates that the author is engaging in sexually-oriented conduct or Adult Content;

(g)    any content related to bestiality, rape, pornography, sex, incest, sex with graphic violence or degradation, excretory functions, bodily fluids, fisting and any other content, whether expressed or implied, which may be judged as obscene; and

(h)    any content containing or referring to child pornography or suggestive of child sexuality, including references to “Lolita” or inclusion of images of or references to nude girls, boys, teens or children.”

Well, I never liked Vladimir Nabakov so I’m OK with this.  Although I can’t be held responsible if the mere sight of my chiselled good looks inspires “sexual/adult talk or thoughts.”  And am I the only one who got a giggle out of the specific mention of “fisting”.  Really?  Just me?  Sorry.  It’s interesting how far they are going as there are rumours that Google Video are preparing specifically for adult content.  Also, the restrictions on suggesting you are involved in adult content elsewhere would shut out some YouTubers who use “suggestive” videos to promote their porn websites elsewhere.

But seriously, Revver, if you want to get popular, run the “community” aspect well.  Make it easy to interact with viewers, add comments to videos, subscribe to videos.  YouTube’s growth is due in no small part to this aspect but their handling of video comments is woeful.  Seriously, it’s absolutely shit.  Just build the level of functionality that a blog has.  Or even simply the ability to have a coherent threaded conversation that existed in Usenet in the 80s.  It can’t be that hard.

If you do this better than YouTube, that’s how you’ll kick their arse.

22 Comments

Filed under General Angriness, Video Blogging

Smelling like a tart’s hankie

The title of this post is paraphrasing a line uttered by Sean Connery in the James Bond film “Diamonds are Forever”. It’s all tied up with the gay assassins who were trying to kill him favouring an apparently tacky cologne. I bring it up now because I’ve been assaulted by the automatic deodoriser in the toilets at my workplace.

Like many workplaces, the toilets here feature a stink-reduction machine that sends out a spray of deodoriser at regular intervals. This is fine in principle (who wants to be subjected to the smell of stale shit?) but several aspects of the implementation are less than perfect. The most common thing I have noticed in these machines is how bad the perfume used smells. While it’s arguably better than human waste, it’s still pretty awful. Not that I’ve spent a lot of time in cheap brothels but this to me is the archetypal cheap brothel smell. I only go to expensive high-class brothels.

The second problem with this deodoriser is its location. It’s right above the sinks where you wash you hands (regular readers will know how important I think it is to wash your hands) and it’s far too close to where you stand. So much so that it sprays the perfume directly on you if you are standing there when it has one of its regular stench eruptions. I made this even worse by timing my turn away from the sink so that I was facing directly into it when it sprayed.

So I staggered away from the sink, hardly able to breathe because I’d inhaled the spray and almost blind because it hit me in the eyes. I stumbled out the door rubbing my eyes and swearing, almost bumping into a cow-orker which resulted in the following conversation:

Cow-orker: What’s the matter with you?

Me: I got spray on me

Cow-orker: You should be more careful, at least you’re wearing dark trousers.

Me: No, not my pants, it got in my eyes.

Cow-orker: What the hell were you doing in there?

Me: No, I was at the sink and did it.

Cow-orker: WHAT?

Suffice to say, the conversation degenerated at this point. For some reason, it’s impossible to rescue the situation once you mention getting spray on you in the toilets.

11 Comments

Filed under Work

Angry Public Service Announcements

So here’s the next stage in my plan to be professionally angry.  The inspiration for this comes from Dragonlady and Sandra telling me to video myself pranking my friend who did the annoying call six times without leaving a message.  Then I thought of Revver’s promise to deliver videos to mobile platforms and pay the creators.  I combined the two and came up with this.

These Public Service Announcements are made to educate idiots who can’t use mobile phones properly.  Send these to morons (anonymously if you like) to give them the idea of what they’re doing wrong.

This first one is for the repeat callers with no messages.  This is the family-friendly version.

Here’s the Revver URL for this PSA

http://revver.com/video/50681/20579

Send it around and make me rich.

Here’s the potty-mouth version of the same PSA – to let people know when you’re really pissed off.

Here’s the Revver URL:

http://revver.com/video/50682/20579

This PSA is aimed at those loudmouth idiots who have conversations on their mobile phone in public places at the top of their lungs.  Send them this message and let them know you want them to shut the fuck up.

Revver URL:

http://revver.com/video/50683/20579

The fourth in this series of PSAs is for people who leave their mobile at their desk when they go somewhere.  Then the rest of us have the constant annoyance of their phone ringing and not being answered.  Send them this message to let them know how you feel.

Here’s the Revver URL: 

http://revver.com/video/50684/20579

Make me rich.  Or I’ll come looking for you.

10 Comments

Filed under Video Blogging

Why programmers need grownups to run things for them

The rather inflammatory title of this post is in response to a question I have been asked many times over the years and, indeed, I have asked it myself on many occasions. Why is it so often the case that companies that are either all about IT or heavily dependent on IT are not run by IT people?  Folk in the IT trenches see IT decisions being made or directed by suits who clearly have a limited understanding of IT issues. By many, many measures the suits are less intelligent that the IT workers. In many cases the suits have less industry experience than the IT workers. So what logical reason could there be for the business not being run by IT?

First, it’s worthwhile to note that not all IT workers have the same view of this question. There are some who do in fact want to run the company. I think the sensible majority have no significant interest in management roles. They didn’t start working in IT to become managers, they’d much prefer to stay in the area of work that interests them. But even this group tends to ask the question, “Why don’t I get to make all the decisions about my work?” Why do all these damn business analysts, designers, project managers and goddam USERS get in the way?

Let’s get one unpleasant fact out of the way: most IT people simply aren’t suited to make strategic decisions about the development of IT projects or applications. Good IT people are very good at executing IT applications or developing innovative and useful programs but these are very different skills to the strategic aspects of making a business work as a profitable venture. The fact that many IT people can’t see this is the central problem. How do you solve a problem if you can’t clearly see or articulate what the problem is?

I have lost count of the times that a programmer has coded something that executed perfectly but did not come close to serving the needs of the business. The programmer can’t see the problem because the application “works” and the business has yet another (unfair and inaccurate) story to tell about how useless the IT department is. A couple of anecdotes from my past to illustrate this concept:

One day, someone decided to organise an office pool for a high-value Lotto draw. A conversation developed around whether it was better value to get a lot of standard tickets or one expensive “systems” ticket. I analysed the problem with a typical business analyst approach: what is the problem and how do we measure success? It proved fairly easy to do a cost/benefit analysis – work out the relative probability of winning with each ticket type and compare that to the relative costs.

To win this particular Lotto variant you had to pick all 6 numbers that would be drawn out of 40 numbers in total. A standard ticket let you pick 6 numbers so you had to get all 6 right. The probability of this is 6/40 x 5/39 x 4/38 x 3/37 x 2/36 x 1/35 (if you’re not a maths nerd, this translates as close enough to no fucking chance at all.) The Systems 9 ticket lets you pick 9 numbers which gives a winning probability of 9/40 x 8/39 x 7/38 x 6/37 x 5/36 x 4/35. This is a much higher probability than a standard ticket but it still aint gonna happen. But on strict cost/benefit analysis the System 9 gave you more chances for your money.

This should have ended the discussions but one of the programmers who was a hardcore maths nerd and not very good with people skills got involved. He went into some really complex mathematics that was meant to prove I don’t know what. It was something along the lines of calculating the number of variations in numbers possible. His conclusion was that the standard tickets were better because you could select a wider variation of numbers. The thing is, I’m pretty certain his equation was absolutely right – it simply wasn’t answering the question being asked. And he really didn’t cope well with having this pointed out.

Me: That isn’t relevant to what we are talking about Kim.

Kim: But I just proved… (long technical explanation I didn’t understand at the time and don’t remember now.)

Me: That may well be true but it wasn’t what we were asking.

Kim: But I just proved… (same theorem but stated in a louder voice.)

Me: Kim, saying the exact same thing in a louder voice doesn’t make it suddenly right.

To which Kim responded by repeating the same points over again except this time (you guessed it) louder still.  Kim had maths skills at the post-graduate level and interpersonal skills at the kindergarten level.

Another, shorter anecdote:  On my first day in a new role I was sitting down with a project manager to discuss the project I would be working on.  This was a pure IT company, it even had bona fide Internet millionaires (a rarity in Australia).  This particular PM was a programmer in the early days of the company and a friend of the founder.  He had been promoted to management because he had been there longer than most, not because he had any management skills.  His first line to me was:

“No offence, but I’ve never seen the point of Business Analysts.”

Why is it that when someone starts a sentence with “no offence, but…” the sentence is always going to end with something really offensive?  You may not be surprised to learn that this company burned through many millions of dollars over the next year before being acquired by a service company that replaced the entire management team.  For my part, I worked with the development team over a period of 3 months to take an eCommerce application that had been lingering in limbo for 2 years to a working beta release including all system and user documentation.  That, my friend, is the point of Business Analysts.

So at the end of the day, companies are rarely run by IT people because very few IT people are suited to the job.  Most simply don’t want to do it and most of those who want to aren’t very good at it.  Fortunately, there are signs this is getting better.  The trend towards keeping IT companies small (known as Micro Independent Software Vendors – Micros ISVs) is keeping the development of both the company and the products in the hands of people with a real passion to get quality results.  This would be my ultimate advice to IT people who think they are the grown-ups and are the best ones to run the company.  Don’t waste your time trying to climb to the top of Megacorp.  Get out there and do it yourself – start your own company.

Prove the bastards wrong.

32 Comments

Filed under Work

How to make yourself angry

Most of the time, my posts on this blog are detailing how the rest of the world pisses me off. Sometimes, however, I have to admit I’m my own worst enemy. Like last night for instance. It being Saturday I decided I had no need to rush with my daily blog post. I wrote half of it in the afternoon and saved it as a draft. I had agreed to babysit on Saturday night and my plan was to finish the post after the little ones had gone to bed.

The slight twist to the plan was that I wasn’t babysitting in my own place. I didn’t think this would be an issues as there was a computer and internet connection where I was babysitting. But not my computer. On my computer, I have saved my login details on both Blogger and WordPress so I don’t have to enter my user name and password each time I go to the sites. Which means I don’t have to remember what they are.

Which mean, when push came to shove I couldn’t remember what they were. If I could have gone home this wouldn’t have been an issue but of course I couldn’t go home because I was looking after sleeping children (all the same I seriously considered it.) For a full hour I was agonising over all my usual permutations for user names and passwords. I do have some “standard” combinations but I decided a while ago it was unwise to use the same combinations for all my web services. All it would take is one slip on my part or one malicious employee at one of the services to unravel my whole world.

Pat on the back for me: I have good security protocols.

Kick in the nuts for me: I should have some way of remembering the dozen or so logins I have.

Well obviously the story had a happy ending, I got my daily update posted and maintained my record of not missing a day since the start of the blog. Right when I was about to give up I remembered I had started using Blogger before I started the Mr Angry blog and the user name related to that first, short-lived blog, not Mr Angry.

You might think I’m angry most of the time, but if anybody in the street made me as angry as I made myself last night, I’d kick their fucking teeth in.

9 Comments

Filed under General Angriness

Revver is coming out of Beta

I received an interesting email the other day from the folks at Revver announcing they were planning to come out of Beta and launch Version 1.0 soon. This could be big news for the Angry Alliance, mainly because Revver opens up the possibilities for getting paid. And getting paid would make it far easier to spend more time on the growing the Angry Alliance.

The promises from the Revver team included that the upgrade to the service will make it easier to “syndicate and share” videos. I’m hoping this means they are changing the site to make it more community oriented and easier to interact with other users and viewers. Because this is an area where Revver is sorely lacking at the moment. When you start with YouTube, it’s pretty easy to see how to respond to videos, interact with other users and promote your own videos. Revver (Beta) has gone for the stereotype Web 2.0 clean interface. It looks very slick and spartan but it isn’t any help with working out how to get your videos seen.

The angle Revver always trumpets is that you can get paid for your videos. Revver shares ad revenue whereas YouTube keeps it all to themselves. This line is being increasingly focused on in media reports as well. There’s a constant suggestion the YouTube is perhaps exploiting its users and profiting from all the videos uploaded without sharing the wealth. This makes some sense on the surface but it really is missing the central point.

All those millions of videos were uploaded to YouTube with no expectation of being paid in return. That mountain of creativity was born out of people’s desire to be seen and recognised. And YouTube has provided that in spades. Millions of views daily. Thousands of subscribers to the most popular YT “celebrities”. In simple terms, this is what people want and are getting from YouTube.

I have no idea what Revver’s business plan is, but I hope for their sake it isn’t competing with YouTube on numbers. I’ll take a wild guess and say this isn’t their plan because they don’t need all of the YouTube contributors to migrate to their service.

They just need the best ones.

They already have ZeFrank (the gold standard for video bloggers). And when it comes down to it the vast majority (90+) of highly viewed videos that were loaded on YouTube with no serious hope of remuneration simply can’t make the leap to an environment where they can make money. The reason for this is they are based largely or in many cases solely on other peoples work. Look at the “most viewed” listing on YouTube and nearly all of them are straight out clips from other shows, music videos or people dancing to someone else’s music.

And you can’t make money from someone else’s copyrighted material. You may have some talent and I’m not about to argue in favour of the insanely restrictive copyright laws inflicted on the majority world but the person who own the music you dance to is going to get paid a long time before you get paid for the video of you dancing in your bedroom. But for people like ZeFrank who are producing truly original work that sponsors are willing to place their ads on, the future is looking interesting.

Revver are starting to announce the sort of deals that could well attract others looking to make their vlog hobby more professional in the dictionary sense of the word. The most interesting deal they have already signed is with ninemsn.com.au – probably unheard of outside Australia but the home of the most trafficked websites in Australia. It’s an alliance between the dominant commercial network in Australia, Channel Nine, and MSN. Its reach is increased by the fact Channel Nine is controlled by the Packer family company Consolidated Press – owners of several high profile magazines and newspapers.

The most interesting possible deal they have floated is for delivering videos to mobile platforms, mainly phones. This is really the perfect medium for the standard lo-res 3-5 minute vlog. And if you develop the sort of work that people want to pass on to their friends, mobile phones could be a significant cash cow. God knows the phone companies are looking for things to convince their users to use high bandwidth applications on their mobiles.

So we’re at a crossroads. YouTube is the undisputed king of eyeballs. But Revver just possibly has a viable long-term business model for both themselves and their performers. There are a few other things to explore on this topic. Revver have some very interesting points in the terms of service they have released for version 1.0 (I actually read the TOS before clicking “I agree” for the first time in my life). And at the end of the day, performers getting paid by the company that hosts their videos may have nothing to do with who wins.

We live in interesting times. You might yet get yourself a fully-professional full-time blogging and vlogging Mr Angry.

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