Tag Archives: comcast

Tunerfish/Comcast/Plaxo: What a ride!

Today is my last day at Tunerfish/Comcast/Plaxo — and the end of my longest ride in Silicon Valley (a sequence of positions that started in March 2006 when I joined Plaxo as the company’s first VP of Marketing).

I’m proud to have played a key role in the turnaround of the Plaxo brand and product, a re-invention that helped pave the way for the acquisition of the company by our largest customer, Comcast, in May 2008 (one of the best exits of the year, especially given the economic meltdown that followed). While at Comcast, I had the great privilege of founding and leading Tunerfish, a new business unit in what would become the white-hot market space of social TV. I took Tunerfish from concept to secret skunkworks, to launch at TechCrunch Disrupt, and on to what is now a really great service, built by one of the best product design and development teams I’ve ever worked with. In short, a fantastic run!

But I’m a startup guy, not meant for a long stay at a huge corporation, and it is now time for me to head on to my next Silicon Valley adventure.  (BTW, If you’ve got an interesting consumer Web startup that could use a seasoned product/marketing/business leader, I’d love to chat.)

I will really miss the awesome folks at what is now the Comcast Silicon Valley Innovation Center (home to four teams working on the future of entertainment and communications), and I’m looking forward to seeing all of the great stuff under development there roll out in the coming months. In particular, I’m keen to see how the Tunerfish team brings social/discovery/personalization features to the Xfinity touchpoints in millions of homes — and how they’ll continue to evolve my favorite social TV app.

Oh, and I’ll also miss the awesome view from the office, overlooking the dirigible hangars at Moffett:

Onward and upward!

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New Episode of The Social Web TV, with Special Guest, Frank Eliason, a.k.a. @comcastcares

Joseph Smarr and I welcome special guest, Frank Eliason, a.k.a. @comcastcares, on an episode of The Social Web TV, shot at the NewTeeVee Live 09 conference last week.

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My Platform Switch: Hello, iPhone, MacBook Air, Sony Cybershot, Comcast Triple Play!

It’s a season of platform change in my personal life, an exciting time of new devices and services. I’ve just ditched my old-fashioned Treo device + crappy Palm software (and no-complaints Sprint service) in favor of the the 3G iPhone (which happens to come with AT&T). I’ve junked my heavy, clunky Windows laptop from Lenovo that took forever to boot up or shut down, in favor of the slim, no-hard-drive MacBook Air from Apple. I’ve abandoned the sluggish, blurry, Canon Powershot pocket digital camera in favor of a snappy new Sony Cybershot with a 28mm (wide-angle) lens and some great image stabilization technology.

And on the “digital home” front, I’ve transitioned from getting my television via satellite (DirectTV), and my broadband vis DSL (SBC), and my phone from the phone company to getting it all together from my new employer, Comcast. [No, I am not shilling here. The main driver for this transition was that I get the triple play as an employee benefit. That said, to borrow a slogan from McDonald’s, “I’m lovin’ it!”]

Why is all this important? I think we are living in some very exciting times (again), now having fully recovered from the post-dot-com-bubble slump in the first half of the decade. I think we are in the early phase of a *major* wave of change. This will be a golden era for developers and consumers, driven by Moore’s Law, open standards, great design, and Darwinian competition. And I plan to photograph, video, and blog it with all these great devices and services!

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Plaxo’s Big Move: Taking “Social Media” Cross-Platform as Part of Comcast

This is a big day for the Social Web. Plaxo, my employer, and one of the strongest advocates for opening up the Social Web has some big news. Announcing that they’ve reached a definitive agreement to be acquired by Comcast. The vision is big, and it’s all goodness for the open Social Web story and how it can go mainstream in a big way. Great stuff.

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Conversational Marketing: Know What They’re Tweeting!

A bit of a "freak show"

If you are a marketer and have not figured out the fast-changing landscape of social media, bone up! If you are a seasoned PR person, brand manager, or CMO and think that Twitter and other new media tools are fringe fads, wake up!

Ignoring the “memestream” is something you cannot afford to do. As the world of “old media” (a.k.a. print newspapers and magazines) is in a death spiral, the “buzz” is increasingly determined by the community of the blogosphere and the microblogosphere.

What are people saying about your brand on Twitter? If your answer is, “I don’t know,” you are lazy. If your answer is “What is Twitter?” you are incompetent and should think about career alternatives.

As the head of marketing for Plaxo, I feel it is essential that I stay on top of tools like Tweetscan to monitor what people are saying about our brand. That often leads to customer service escalations — and to reversals of opinion. A frustrated Twitterer who gets rapid remedy after tweeting a complaint can become a brand ally.

Don’t believe that this stuff matters to real companies? Check out this weekend’s drama with Michael Arrington and Comcast.

Update: A nice post over at CNET by Charles Cooper on the relationship between Twitter, breaking news, and “old media.”

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