Paid Youtube Subscriptions

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Earlier this month Youtube started rolling out paid subscriptions for a few of its channels, including UFC and National Geographic.  Note, the paid subscriptions are for specific channels, and there is no plan to make the entirety of Youtube a paid service.

Previously, the only way that Youtube content makers could monetize their channel was through the use of ads that appeared before or during a video.

While Youtube’s move has received predictable push back from some of its viewers, its move to allow some Youtube channels to charge a subscription fee is a great step for its content creators. It also makes Youtube a viable, attractive revenue alternative for larger content creators.

For example, the ability to charge a subscription fee could incentivize large cable content makers such as AMC and HBO to move their content to Youtube and in turn make Youtube a one-stop shop for all video entertainment options. Youtube is already the defacto destination for independent content creators, this  recent move allows Youtube to attract larger ones that traditionally would have stuck to cable or other streaming services such as Hulu and Netflix.

App Wednesday: Flipboard



Flipboard is a great news-aggregator app for your smartphone. I used to get most of my news from the Pulse app (which was great for a while) but instantly converted to Flipboard once I started using it.

If you’re not familiar with news-aggregator apps, what they generally do is give you a visual feed from multiple sources (which you can choose) and let you easily read them from one app. For example, you could choose to receive the top stories from Cnn, Wall Street Journal, Mashable, or any number of news sites and have them aggregate on your phone. You can even include your social feed, so you can receive updates from your Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin feeds.

What Flipboard does differently compared to other apps is its swiping. While Pulse and other apps do just as well at aggregating news feeds, the way you interact with your feed on Flipboard is much more elegant. For example, in Pulse you would scroll up and down your news feed, much like you would do on a computer.

Pulse screenshot from my iphone.

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In contrast when you browse through your Flipboard feed, it’s much more like flipping through the pages of a book. Neat!

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Mark Cuban on Passion vs Success

“‘Follow Your Passion’ is easily the worst advice you could
ever give or get … [I]f you have been able to have some
success, what was the key to the success? Was it the passion
or the effort you put in? …

Let me make this as clear as possible:

1. When you work hard at something you become good at

2. When you become good at doing something, you will
enjoy it more.

3. When you enjoy doing something, there is a very good
chance you will become passionate or more passionate
about it.

- Mark Cuban

We all seek to success in our lives in one way or another. For many of us, the hard road to success is finding what venture to start, or what kind of business to get in to. I really liked what Mark had to say in this quote. It’s a great wake-up call for many people. The last part really stuck in my mind, about how your business, when you become good at it, will become your passion.

I found this quote while on Andrew Youderian’s website: (it’s a great resource for budding entrepreneur’s looking into e-commerce). He analyzed this quote and had already applied it to his own life; one of his online ventures is selling boat motors, a topic which he initially had no knowledge in, but one that he became rapidly knowledgable and passionate about as he worked on his store.

He re-iterated Cuban’s idea in the following quote:

“When you’re successful at something, you naturally become
passionate about it. It’s how life works. I don’t care if it’s
water purifiers or cow manure; if it brings you success, I
PROMISE you’ll learn to become passionate about it at some

Time to work and make something successful.

App Wednesday: Hotel Tonight

Hey guys, its app Wednesday!

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This week’s app is “Hotel Tonight” a free app from DealBase Corp. Hotel Tonight is a hotel finding app that helps you make hotel reservations at discounted rates.  What is interesting about this app is how it incentivizes its users to promote the app. Every user gets a promotion code, which they can share with their friends. Once a friend downloads the app and enters the promo code, both friends receive a $25 credit good towards a stay at any Hotel Tonight resort.

Here’s what the app looks like on the iPhone 5:

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If you’d like to get $25 credit, please use my promo code ;) . After you download the app, you’ll receive your own code that you can use to share with friends and get more Hotel Tonight credit. You could get a free hotel stay for sharing with just 4 other people!

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App Wednesday Part 1: ToDoist


This is my first post on neat smartphone apps.  I’m going to start with a cool little number called ToDoist, here is the Apple link and the Android link

Todoist’s To Do list service helps organize your tasks across many platforms, from laptop to tablet to smartphone. The service includes the website and the app, and both are simple to use. For a free App it is great, I highly recommend it to anyone who needs help keeping track of their to do list.


You can divide your to do’s into separate checklists, which ToDoist calls “Projects”, within each project you can assign a number of tasks. After you complete a task, you can check the box next to it, and it will disappear from your list.


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One of the neat things about ToDoist is that you can track your progress and productivity over time. ToDoist remembers what tasks you completed on what day, and compiles a productivity chart that you can view, called ToDoist Karma (this screenshot was taken from the ToDoist browser app).

The below is a screenshot of my productivity graph that ToDoist emailed me:

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Make sure to check it out!

Quora: 5 Reasons to Love It

If you were a fan of Yahoo! Answers, you need to check out 

For those of you who have never heard of Quora, it is a Q&A site (founded by former Facebook employees) that aggregates questions and answers based on topics. Users can collaborate by editing questions and suggesting edits to other users’ answers.

So why should you be on Quora?

1. Quora users are REAL PEOPLE.  Unlike Yahoo!Answers, Quora users identify themselves with their real name and picture. Accountability has a great way of keeping conversations civilized, it is rare to see on Quora the kind of vitriol you’d normally see in Yahoo!Answers or in the comment section of Youtube.

But wait, doesn’t forcing users to use their real name pressure users to focus only on PC topics

After all, few people would be comfortable with asking politically/racially/culturally sensitive questions for fear of reprisals from bosses or coworkers that may be on Quora. There are also very personal questions that users may feel uncomfortable answering in public, but are willing to answer anonymously (What does it feel like to steal? etc.)  Fortunately for this very reason, you can both post and answer questions anonymously.  This allows users to open up and post very personal answers that they wouldn’t feel comfortable posting publicly.

2. Quora has a great validation system.   Answers can be voted up or down, with highly rated answers appearing at the top of the answers list.  Other users can validate a great answer.

3. Quora has a “Get and Give” policy. Asking questions on Quora requires the use of in-site credits, which users can earn by answering questions. This policy ensures that Quora users all contribute to discussions on Quora, and are not simply spamming the site with questions.

4. The influencers are on Quora.  Influencers in SEM, SMM, SEO, Law, Politics, Biology and many other fields are on Quora. I find the site a great way to find authorities on subjects that I’d like to find out more about. For example, I recently posted a question on Quora regarding Chinese language, and received this great answer from a language student

5. You can ask questions about key influencers and sometimes they will answer your question!

iOS6 Maps has so many flaws, why did Apple decide to move away from Google Maps?

A lot of people (myself included) are wondering why Apple decided to launch its own Maps app for iOS6 when early reports clearly indicate that it is inferior to the Google Maps app that Iphone owners could use in iOS5.

Apple launched its iOS6 with much fanfare, including a new Apple-owned Maps app. On the surface the new app is beautiful, with a great new 3-D view that allows users to navigate through SimCity-like buildings. Visually, it looks amazing.


However, it wasn’t long after iOS6 was released to the public that a slew of issues arose with the new app.  Some of the complaints about Apple’s new Maps include (images  here ):

Pixelated Maps

Maps with no Street Names

 Maps that look like an earthquake disaster

Google Maps vs IOS6 Maps

So with all of these errors, missing streets, visual bugs, and an overall product that is inferior to Google Maps, why would Apple move away from Google to build its own proprietery Maps app?

This answer from Quora Member and longtime Apple User Robert Scoble expresses it best (click here for source):

Why did Apple feel that it was worth pissing off customers?

Well, future products will rely very heavily on maps and if Apple doesn’t control its own destiny it would forever be beholden to Google.- Robert Scoble

Maps are a tremendous part of the smartphone experience, and with Google’s Android as the primary competitor to Apple’s iOS it is in Apple’s interest to lessen its reliance on Google’s data. The rivalry between both companies is getting more heated, and Apple’s launch into Maps is a long-term investment for Apple’s future.

But why not just have a 3rd-party vendor create the app? (Maps was created by Apple using TomTom’s data)

Apple would need to license that data from somewhere else. These other companies might not care so much about Apple’s needs and also might charge very high prices for access to its APIs (like Google is). That would be very dangerous for Apple’s future.- Robert Scoble

So it is in Apple’s best interest to create a native Apple Maps app. While it is ironing out the kinks in Maps, Apple has the capital to emulate the fleet of Google street cars that give Google its advantage.  There are growing pains with Apple’s foray into navigational apps, but it is a long-term investment for Apple that will pay dividends in the future.

In the meantime, Iphone 5 users might have to use their web-browser to use Google Maps until iOS Maps has matured.