Category Archives: Featured Articles

How to Get 22GB of Free Storage Space on Dropbox

Follow these five easy steps to max out your free Dropbox account with 22GB of free storage space.

1. Open a Dropbox account

Just by creating a free Dropbox account you’ll get 2GB of free disk space plus an additional 250MB if you use my (or someone else’s) referral link.

Total so far: 2.25GB

2. Use your .edu email address to double your referral bonuses

20120309-83ebtg45ax64xjs81wfussu9r8.preview.pngIf you have a .edu email address, simply provide it to Dropbox at and your referral bonuses will double to 500GB, giving you a chance to earn 16GB of free space.

Doing this will also retroactively double your free space from any referrals done previous to linking your .edu email address.

3. Use your referral code to get extra free space

Once you’ve created your Dropbox account and linked your .edu email address you’re ready to start inviting your friends, acquaintances and random folks to join the fun.

Find your referral code and give it your friends, add it to your signature, or even use it on an AdWords campaign. Anyone who signs up with your code will also get an additional 250MB of free space.

Total so far: 18.25GB

4. Complete the Dropbox questionnaire for an additional 890MB

20120309-m5up1wfm9pgurg9rw1g958nw22.preview.pngSimply connect your Twitter and Facebook accounts to Dropbox, follow @Dropbox on Twitter, tweet about it and answer one question for an additional 640MB of free space (128MB for each action, so you don’t need to them all if you don’t feel like it).

Then finish the seven steps of the getting started guide to earn an additional 250MB of free space.

Total so far: 19.14GB

5. Test the Dropbox Camera Upload Beta for an additional 3GB

If you’re feeling a little adventurous, give the Dropbox Camera Upload Beta a try and earn up to 3GB of additional free space.

This used to give you 5GB of free space but as the Beta has evolved and become more stable, new testers now earn just 3GB of free space.

The Dropbox Camera Upload Beta will automatically grab photos and videos from any camera/SD card/phone you connect to your computer and add them to a Dropbox folder. For every 500MB of photos you add, Dropbox will add 500MB of free space to your account (up to a total of 3GB).

Total so far: 22.14GB

So, there you go: just over 22GB of free online storage space in Dropbox, available on all your computers, phones and tablets as well as anywhere you have an internet connection.

What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment with your Dropbox referral link

Google TV is coming (and we told you so)

The New York Times (Google and Partners Seek TV Foothold) and Web TV Wire (Google TV On Way – Search Giant Teams With Intel & Sony For Android-Based Set-Top Box) are reporting that…

Google and Intel have teamed with Sony to develop a platform called Google TV to bring the Web into the living room through a new generation of televisions and set-top boxes. (NYT)

RED66 readers (yes, all three of you) got a glimpse of the future and already knew about this development four years ago, when I wrote about “Google Media.” Some choice quotes from that article:

Google has been quietly getting ready to bring the power of its brand and technology to the way you experience music, television and media in general.

Google has the equipment and expertise necessary to set up a massive media distribution and tracking network, integrated into their existing search and advertising technologies.

Google is also making inroads into the set-top box business, hoping to bring television media straight into your television (whether it’s in your living room or your mobile phone).

At the time I wrote that article (April, 2006) I made a mock-up of what a Google Media Dashboard could look like, based on their Google Finance interface. What do you think?

Google TV Dashboard

Read the original article here: Google Media.

And, as always, feel free to comment below and share it with your friends (hint: use the retweet button at the end of the article).

5 Mindset Shifts Every Media Executive Needs to Make

Media executives thinking about distributing their content online (and they all should) need to make important mindset shifts in order to understand what the digital revolution is all about, how it affects their business and what benefits it can bring to their operation.

I’ve outlined five mindset shifts every media executive needs to make:

1. Digital Is Your Battleground

OLD: We sell advertising space on television and throw in a bonus on our internet properties.

NEW: We sell advertising space on our Internet properties and throw a bonus on our television network.

Drastic? Yes! But you need to start thinking this way if you want to understand where your company is headed. Digital content distribution will eventually be your main revenue stream.

You need to start thinking digital:

  • Have all your content ready in digital formats suitable for distribution via downloads, podcasts, iTunes, streaming and cellphones.
  • Convert your advertising rates to digital format and train your sales people in the new lingo: figure out how much you charge per minute per thousand viewers and use this as a starting point.
  • Think about how you’ll monetize your shows online and plan accordingly: pre-roll, mid-roll, banners, page sponsors, and subscriptions are all valid.

2. Engagement Is The New Rating

OLD: What matter is the size of our audience.

NEW: What matters is how engaged our audiences are.

You’re used to thinking about how many million viewers your shows garner. You need to start thinking about how many ways your shows intersect with your viewers’ lives. Study Lost and look up how many online communities have grown around the show.

Let your audiences interface with your content. Make it shareable in a way that lets you track views and advertising. Turn your content into a social object. Make it either:

  • part of the conversation,
  • a conversation starter, or
  • a gathering place.

If you’re creating content for TV or film, plan ahead and create additional content for digital distribution: side stories, character background, games, behind-the-scenes footage. There’s only so much you can tell in a one-hour show… develop your story online.

Don’t be afraid to listen to your audience, or to talk to them.

3. Your Earnings Will Come From Elsewhere

OLD: How are we going to make money online?

NEW: How are we going to make money if we don’t go online?

Of course you need to make money. And enough people have lost their shirts online to make even the bolder ones worry (think of them as the pioneers, with the arrows stuck on their backs). But look at it as an investment… just like you invested in HD technology, Beta SP, Nielsen reports and new studios: make a business plan, plan a strategy, hire a consultant, set-up a team, start small, think big, or not. Your current market is shrinking, it’s time to look elsewhere.

4. There Are More Than 24 Hours In A Day, There’s More Than One Distribution Channel

OLD: We deliver content 24 hrs a day on one channel.

NEW: We deliver unlimited content via unlimited distribution channels.

Forget about a 24-hour day. You now have access to unlimited audiences willing to watch any content at any time. Many of them are even willing to consume multiple content simultaneously. The programming grid is a thing of the past. You still need to offer quality content, but when it’s always 5pm somewhere, the meaning of prime-time changes.

5. What You Think You Know About Your Audience No Longer Applies

OLD: We must adapt our programming to our audience.

NEW: We can distribute any content to any number of audiences.

Want to create a news show, a sports channel or a cooking network? Why not all of them? If you’re a general programming station. think niches. If you’re a niche-content producer, think multiple niches. You have the know-how and production capability, you don’t need to constrain yourself to one particular audience. Experiment with old content, new content, new versions of old content, old versions of new content… it’s the Internet, there’s an audience for anything.

What do you think?

(Disponible en español en

How companies that learn will take your lunch money

In an age of constant innovation, it’s important to identify behaviors within your company that may hinder its chances of success.

Do you belong to a learning organization? Is anyone keeping up with innovations? Are employees encouraged to do so? When an employee comes up with a new idea, does that idea make it through the organization and reach the right people?

David Garvin and Amy Edmonson, authors of the HBR article on Learning Organizations, define a learning organization as one “skilled at creating, acquiring, interpreting, transferring and retaining knowledge” and capable of “modifying its behavior to respond to those new knowledges and insights.

So, how does your company cope with innovation? I came up with the following chart to depict what I see as the four types of learning organizations:

The 4 types of Learning Organizations

Is your company an Early Adopter of innovative ideas? An Early Adopter is a company that innovates, stays up-to-date with new ideas and technologies that may impact its operations and has a system in place to reward innovation, experimentation and implementation throughout the enterprise.

A Late Adopter tries to stay up-to-date with innovation on a longer cycle. Late Adopters experiment with innovative ideas when they’re a bit more mainstream and tested. Being a Late Adopter is not necessarily a bad thing, as you can sometimes lose focus of your core business by over-innovating or following too many new ideas without ever integrating them to your operation.

A Laggard company is one that incorporates new ideas when strictly necessary. A Laggard won’t adopt a new technology until it’s vital for its continued survival. While this may work for certain niches with enormous barriers to entry, this behavior eventually catches up with them (or actually, their competition does).

Flunkers are simply blindsided by innovation. Not having any mechanisms in place to look at new ideas, or convinced that their idea is simply the best, they wake up one day to find that a competitor owns their market or that they’ve simply become obsolete.

Ray Stata, cofounder of Analog Devices, Inc once said that:

The rate at which organizations and individuals learn may well become the only competitive advantage.

In order to remain successful, individuals and organizations must learn faster than their competition in order to get ahead and stay ahead of the pack. If the rate of innovation in your particular industry is greater that your rate of learning, you’ll invariably fall behind.

Are you or your company geared for learning? Is someone in your company keeping you informed of new technologies that may affect you? Will you know what hit you?

Leave your comments… I’d love to take this conversation forward and refine some of the concepts presented in this article. Do you have a story to share about how innovation affected your company or life?

Additional info:

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A List of News Organizations using Twitter

Several traditional media organizations are using Twitter to distribute breaking news and alerts in a timely manner. Many media employees are also using Twitter to inform their followers of news as they happen, before they get back to the newsroom.

I’ve tried to condense a list of traditional media organizations using Twitter, with links to their Twitter accounts and graphs of their Twitter usage. I’ve only included those that have recent activity.

If you know of a news organization using Twitter as a distribution outlet, drop me a message through the comments form below, indicating their name and Twitter account.

You can follow me on Twitter at @cgranier.

A Spanish-language version of this post is available on my regular column at Technosailor.


Charlotte Oberver, Charlotte, NC @theobserver (stats)

Clarín, Argentina @clarincom (stats)

Courier-Mail, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia @cmbreakingnews (stats), @cmail_breaking (stats)

Diario Correo, Ecuador @diariocorreo (stats)

El País, Madrid, España @el_pais (stats)

El Porvenir, Monterrey, Mexico @El_Porvenir (stats)

El Siglo Web, San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina @elsigloweb (stats)

El Tiempo, Bogotá, Colombia @eltiempocom (stats)

El Universo, Ecuador @el_universo (stats)

Financial Times @FTmedianews (stats), @FTfinancenews (stats)

Honolulu Star Bulletin, Honolulu, HI @starbulletin (stats)

Knoxville News Sentinel, Knoxville, TN @knoxnews (stats)

LA Daily News @ladailynews (stats)

La Nacion, Chile @nacioncl (stats), @lanacioncl (stats)

La Tercera, Chile @latercera (stats)

LA Times @latimesbreaking (stats), @latimesworld (stats)

Milenio, Mexico @Milenio (stats)

Nashua Telegraph, Hudson, NH @NashuaTelegraph (stats)

The New York Times, NY @nytimes (stats)

The News & Observer, Raleigh, NC @newsobserver (stats)

The Oregonian, Portland, OR @oregonian (stats), @OregonianBiz (stats), @OregonianTraff (stats), @OregonianSports (stats)

The Orlando Sentinel, Orlando, FL @orlandosentinel (stats)

Times Online, London, UK @timesonline (stats), @TimesNewsUk (stats)

USA Today @ondeadline (stats)

Radio & TV

BBC @BBC (stats), @bbcsa (stats), @todaytrial (stats), @BBCClick (stats), @bbcmundo (stats), @bbcbrasil (stats)

CBC News, Canada @cbcnews (stats)

Channel News Asia, Singapore @ChannelNewsAsia (stats)

CNN @cnn (stats), @cnnbrk (stats), @CNNNewsroom (stats)

Fox News @foxnews (stats)

KOAT, Albuquerque, New Mexico @KOAT (stats)

KPBS News, San Diego, CA @kpbsnews (stats)

News 2 Colorado, Denver, Colorado @News2Colorado (stats)

NPR News @nprnewsblog (stats), @nprnews (stats), @bryantpark (stats)

Radio Cooperativa, Santiago, Chile @Cooperativa (stats)

RNZ Radio New Zealand News @rnz_news (stats)

RTÉ News, Ireland @RTEnews (stats), @RTEbusiness (stats)

VenezuelaPress, Venezuela @VenezuelaPress (stats)

WICU 12 News, Erie, PA @WICU12News (stats)

WLWT, Cincinnati, OH @wlwt (stats)

WOSU Public Media, Columbus, OH @WOSU (stats)


47 News, Tokyo, Japan @47news (stats)

ABC News, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia @abcnewsbrisbane (stats)

AgendaTwiMedios @agendatwitter (stats)

AmericasReport @AmericasReport (stats)

Breaking News Alerts @BreakingNewsOn (stats), @LivePressAlert (stats)

CNET News @CNETNews (stats)

ESPN Headlines @espn (stats)

Los Angeles Fire Department, Los Angeles, CA @LAFD (stats)

Mahalo News @mahalonews (stats)

MarketWatch @MarketWatch (stats)

Marketwire @marketwire (stats)

Motor Awards, Venezuela @MotorAwards (stats)

MSN Noticias, España @msnnoticias (stats)

MSNBC @msnbc_world (stats)

Noticias Emol @twitter_emol (stats)

Poynter, St. Petersburg, FL @Poynter (stats)

Sina News, China @sinanews (stats)

Sunchales Hoy, Sunchales, Santa Fe, Argentina @sunchaleshoy (stats)

Thailand News @thailandnews (stats)

The Potsdam News, Potsdam, NY @ThePotsdamNews (stats)

Correspondents, Media Employees

Adam Boulton, Sky News, London, UK @SkyNewsBoulton (stats)

Darren Waters, Technology Editor, BBC News @djwaters1 (stats)

Ginny Skal, WNCN NBC 17, Raleigh, NC @ginnyskal (stats)

Jim Long, NBC @newmediajim (stats)

Wayne Sutton, WNCN NBC 17, Raleigh, NC @waynesutton (stats)

Let me know of any other news organizations using Twitter as a distribution method… Use the comments form below the article.

You can follow me on Twitter at @cgranier.

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The MiamiTwits Twitter Group

Following Technosailor‘s lead, and using his code, I’ve setup the MiamiTwits Twitter group for people in the Miami, FL area (and anyone else, really) who wish to subscribe.

All you need is:

  • a twitter account (of course)
  • follow @MiamiTwits
  • send a direct message to the group (e.g., d MiamiTwits Hello Miami!) and it will be automatically broadcast to the entire group.


5 Observations on the State of Digital Media

I wrote this as the introduction to a report I presented a year ago, after attending the Forbes MEET conference, and was surprised at how relevant it still was… so I decided to share it with my blog readers.

1. Universal access to media distribution.

The traditional media outlets were used to managing an industry of scarce resources, which they owned. Acting like toll booths, they decided what got published and what didn’t. The Internet put an end to this system, giving everyone an effective distribution channel. The bottlenecks have disappeared. Anyone can post their opinion to a blog, a video on YouTube, and even distribute their band’s songs. MediaSnackers are an example of the way users are adapting to this new way of creating and consuming content.

2. Time-Shifting: The future of media consumption is when you want it, how you want it, where you want it.

Although traditional television will continue being relevant for a while, an ever growing number of users will opt for the freedom of deciding how, when and where to consume media. The need for watching live television will still exist, given people’s need to socialize around shows (the so called water cooler effect), but users will increasingly satisfy this need with their online friends (via Twitter, for instance).

3. A need for more -and better- editors.

In a world of easily accessible, unlimited content, the role of editors is ever more important. We need trustworthy recommendations in order to find quality, relevant content. As the value of our time increases, so does the need for editors or editorial systems we trust. This applies for all kinds of content: news, software, music, games, videos, etc. Services like Digg, even with all their faults and growing pains, are a possible solution.

4. Go Local: news will be closer to home than ever.

When agencies like Reuters can distribute their content to every news show in the world, the value of those news falls (as they’re no longer exclusive to any one show). Newscasts and newspapers need to take advantage of their local presence and knowledge to cover events of real relevance to local consumers. The tendency is towards hyperlocal: the neighborhood, the county, the municipality. The Internet is the ideal medium to distribute this localized content. Likewise, users have begun to engage in Citizen Journalism, using blogs, videos, podcasts and any other distribution technology to give their opinions, make their complaints public and comment on the latest events.

5. The Internet will compete with television on the television.

In the next couple of years the Internet will be connected to the rest of our homes. Already, content that’s available on the Internet competes with television shows, and soon watching an Internet-available show on our television sets will be a simple matter of pushing a button on our remotes. YouTube, CurrentTV, Google Video, to name a few, will have a permanent home in our high-definition televisions. Traditional media networks need to make an effort to distribute their content through the Internet (see Hulu), create Internet content that supports and extends their TV offerings (see Heroes) and, more importantly, begin to compete against themselves in this new arena.

What do you see as the future of digital media?

A Spanish-language version of this article is available at, where I write a regular column. Disponible en español en, donde escribo una columna regularmente.

Content-centric Communities

Bernard Lunn, at Read/WriteWeb wrote an interesting article about the failure of Eons.

Eons is a social networking website aimed at the over-fifty crowd, headed by the founder of job-site After raising $32M, Eons is now cutting it’s workforce in half – not exactly a measure of success.

In his article, Lunn touches a point I’ve been making for a long time: people gather around content, not around demographic variables (see “The Advertiser’s Dilemma”, “Rethinking Ratings” and “Why Google Should Buy YouTube” for my previous articles on content-centric ratings analysis).

Lunn think the problem lies in Eons’ strategy to connect people around age, a traditional demographic variable, and not around content or common interests. He’s hit the nail squarely on the head:

“…people want to connect around content, not around age. Connecting around content is what Blogs do. You connect on something that interests you. (…) As you get older, you get a more varied set of interests and human relationships across all ages.”

Age/Sex/Location is not a social network

Demographic variables allow advertisers and their clients to easily target their products to artificial segments of the population that probably have very little else in common, other than age/sex/location. In a small-town-world these variables may have been good enough to create desirable advertising targets, but we now live in a connected world where people of all ages and genders interact and share common interests on a scale seldom seen before.

And while you can still use demographic variables to target your product, you’d be missing a much more interesting target, one capable of creating die-hard fans and viral awareness of your product, by ignoring content-centric connections.

As for social networks, look at the successful ones and the “glue” that keeps them together:

Building a social network around content will not magically make it successful, just like putting wings on a box won’t make it fly; but those wings sure help once you put the rest of the airplane together.

The Content-centric Connectivity Chart

The following chart is an example of how people of different ages, genders and cultural backgrounds gather around common interests (caveat: networks are not drawn to scale, connections do not attempt to imply actual traffic for these sites, and age/gender/race were limited by the avatar icons I could find on the net).

Content-Centric communities chart

The Content-centric Connectivity chart highlights two key ideas:

  • Successful networks are built around content, not around demographics.
  • There’s a huge opportunity for anyone who learns how to target their products around content-centric communities.


There will always be products that need to be targeted around demographic variables (e.g., feminine products, some toys, acne-medication, denture products), but the opportunities and tools for expanding your product’s appeal have never been this good.

Blast From the Past – Multidimensional Data Analysis

About eight years ago, I was analyzing television ratings at a leading network in Venezuela… when I came up with the following graph (see below). Rendering took forever in Excel, but the resulting image was not only beautiful, but highly informative. I basically took the network’s audience share for every 15-minute interval throughout the day, for every day of the year, and produced an area map, where interesting patterns became obvious.

The colors you see indicate the audience share for each point in time… deep reds indicate less than 10-percent share, blues around 40-percent and greens above 70-percent. This market is mostly a two horse race, which is why you see such high percentages. From these graphs it was easy to see patterns (like the orange swath down the right side of the image, or the blue-green lagoons at the top left and the blue river down the right edge) indicating areas where the network’s programming was strong or weak.

With more computing power, I’d have taken this one step further, adding a third dimension to the graph to indicate the difference in audience share with our main competitor. That would have made a cool landscape… Soon we could even have the Himalayas indicating dominance across a time slot, the cold ocean depths (and, why not, a little model of the Titanic) indicating hopeless programming. In between, maybe some palm trees and a Corona.

Data visualization is a powerful tool, and when done correctly it can bring new insights into otherwise stale data sets.

Yearratings Small

Here’s a detailed view of the graph, showing the chart for ABC (income-level demographics), from 4:30 p.m. to midnight, from April 9, 1998 until April 30th of that same year. On the right is the legend, explaining the different colors.


I found these on an old backup DVD along with the original Excel files and thought it’d be nice to share them. Let me know if you like them. My brain seems to be wired for pattern-recognition, so I tend to enjoy and appreciate these graphs a great deal.

If you like multi-dimensional graphics, I highly recommend the work of Edward Tufte. Check out his website and browse through any of his books next time you visit your local bookstore.

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The Advertiser’s Dilemma

The typical life of an internet video goes somewhat like this: someone uploads the video to a video sharing website (YouTube, Google Video, Metacafe, Dailymotion, your pick) and sends links to his friends telling them to watch the video. One of them thinks it’s funny and passes it around. Some other guy finds it on the website, writes a comment and shares it with his contact list. If the video is really funny, sometimes (not always) it will explode and become an internet hit (like the Star Wars kid or Pinky the Cat). Millions will watch it and pass it around. And eventually it’ll become old and die a natural death (sometimes to be resurrected further down the line).

As an advertiser, you’d want to identify these runaway hits before they become a success (thus minimizing the number of eyeballs lost to your message). As a content producer, you want to convince advertisers to buy space on your video, before you lose the advertising value of all those eyeballs.

So, how do you maximize your return on advertising on web videos?

Traditionally, we could say advertisers have it easy (though I’m aware how hard ad buying really is). Television networks have been around for a long time, have time tested products, experienced programmers deciding what gets on the air and when, and a captive audience. They also have a company (AGB Nielsen) that measures all these shows down to the minute, reporting on the age, sex, location and income level of the viewers.

The internet, however, presents a whole new set of unknowns. Most content delivery websites have no control over their content producers nor do they know who these producers are. There’s no experienced programmer deciding what gets showcased (CurrentTV does, but they have a different business model and approach to web video); instead, other users rate the videos according to their personal tastes (and with a little work this system can be gamed very easily). Finally, there’s no real measuring going on (I’ve written about this particular issue here, here and here). Most websites simply tell you which video has been viewed the most, or ranked the highest (again, with highly suspect numbers). And what they know about their users is usually limited to their email address, what they’ve published, viewed or ranked and maybe an IP address that can suggest where they connect from (which used properly can be a very useful variables).

As an advertiser, you’d want to optimize your purchases (as opposed to buying ads on every conceivable video and hope one of them becomes an internet sensation). But by the time you can tell a video is a runaway hit, you’ve not only probably lost the majority of your potential audience (sort of like entering a pyramid scheme at the bottom), but you’ll also have to pay a premium to advertise on that now world famous video.

We need tools that can track the spread velocity of a video, their viralness, so to speak. We also need to define new demographic variables, based not only on age / sex / location / income but more importantly on interests and social connectivity. When you have 14-yr olds playing online games against 30-yr olds, age and sex are no longer as relevant as what interests these people share.

Of course you can simply blanket every uploaded video with your advertising, but would you rather be that ad on every lousy home video, or that cool ad on the hilariously popular video-du-jour?

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