alexpgp: (Default)
It was a quiet night at the MCC last night. In ran into some old acquaintances in the space-to-ground room, and we chatted a couple of times when I stopped by to get hot water for tea and one of the packaged noodle meals that we stock up on, from time to time, at the Hong Kong Market.

As I was going home, I approached the passenger side of the rental - a Ford - in order to open the door and put my bag on the floor (as opposed to hauling it into the car across my lap after sitting down behind the wheel) and was momentarily nonplused, as there were no keyholes on either of the passenger side doors. Going around to the driver's side, it turns out there is only one lock on the vehicle, which - I thought to myself - makes it really hard to be considerate in situations where you want to open the passenger's door before you open your own. (Naturally, the car is of that class where there is no remote locking control.)

I ate after coming home, which was probably a mistake, as I didn't really expect to stay up for very long afterward. I had an ersatz "surf and turf" dinner, consisting of the rest of the lamb and a piece of salmon, and some salad. I'll make sure to take something more substantial to eat to work tonight, so as to avoid the temptation to raid the fridge after getting home.


Lately, I'm listening to a lot more audio - spoken words as opposed to music - and it makes me wonder if, as reading begins to take a back seat to video and audio, we're really not taking a major step backward here.

I was fortunate enough to develop reading skills as a kid, and although I'm not one of those speed-readers who can read a page at a glance, I can get through a "normal" sized fiction novel in about 3-4 hours. Furthermore, I find it's easier for me to understand things when they're written out as words, and to find them again when they're written out (one knack I've developed when reading mysteries is to be able to go back and find the passage with the foreshadowed clue after it has been revealed), and to refer back and forth between a printed page and any notes I care to take.

I'm not at all sure you can do that with an audio stream (although I know people are working on making spoken words "searchable"). On top of that, that same book I said would take me 3-4 hours to read comes as - and I'd have to confirm with a site visit - about 8-10 hours of audio (perhaps even abridged).


No time to develop that properly, as I have about 2.5 hours to do some work in before getting ready for anothe (equally quiet, one can hope) night at MCC.

alexpgp: (Default)
I recently read a post at Open Culture that noted how the #3 most popular podcast at iTunes earlier this month was Coffee Break Spanish, which has experienced over a half million downloads since starting up late last year. The money quote in the post, for me, was this:
...the digital era has enabled small content providers, with little to no capital, to serve niche markets, which if taken together, can turn out to be quite large.
This is something that seems quite obvious, if you think about it for more than a second, but at the same time something... if not profound, then at least in the class of having that animated arm pop out of the screen to thwap you on the head with a wooden mallet.

The business model here involves providing a basic product that you give away and that can stand by itself well enough to earn repeat downloads, and then to offer a raft of auxiliary aids, such as bonus podcasts, documentation, flash cards, etc., which are sold to listeners (about $18 per month, in the case of Coffee Break Spanish). Although the cost of goods is negligible (in terms of having no physical product to sell), I would not be surprised to learn that a considerable amount of effort must be invested to actually generate the content.

So, I thinks to myself, how might those 500,000 downloads translate into sales?

That will depend on the size of your audience, i.e., repeat listeners. How many such people are represented by 500,000 downloads?

We are going to have to make some assumptions.

Just for laughs, let's invoke the 80-20 rule and assume that 20% of listeners are motivated enough to think "I can do this," and download an average of 8 episodes of the 10 available, and that 80% of listeners quit downloading after an average of 2 episodes and go back to watching American Idol. If you do the math, the assumption results in an overall audience size of just over 150,000 people, of whom 30,000 are motivated enough to have downloaded almost all the episodes, and zero of the remaining 120,000 souls can be expected to buy any premium content.

Now, somewhere, I have a dead-tree article wherein it is stated that almost 95% of people will not carry through on a decision that might literally save or prolong their lives (something like quitting smoking, for instance, for someone with emphysema). Let's state that a bit more starkly as: "95% of people who are motivated to do something supremely important to them will not do it."

But buying extra content is not a life-or-death decision, so, of the remaining 5% of that 30,000, I estimate that 1 in 5, and maybe - if winds be fair and the seas following- as many as 1 in 2 of that group will muster the initiative to move beyond of their comfort zone and actually take action. (If you've ever been on the receiving end of sales training, you know how important that "call to action" is. If you don't ask for the sale, you won't get it!)

So figure something between 300 and 750 people buy into the paid goodies... that's, um, between $5400 and $13500 per month, with the latter figure being fairly optimistic.

Draw your own conclusions (but remember: generating content will be a full-time job!)

(BTW, if anyone feels like pointing out an episode of rectocranial inversion on my part, please feel free to comment.)

alexpgp: (Baikonur)
I had the afternoon duty yesterday, and today, the schedule calls for me to go in an work in the evening, from 7 pm to midnight. However, if last night was any indication, the level of support required from the late evening shift today might well be ratcheted down a notch, to "on call," or to nothing at all, because of two factors: first, it would appear that some part of the French team is planning on going to the Luna Club to help welcome Bastille Day, and second, the customer is apparently arranging a social event. Of course, both factors depend on one overarching concern - the schedule - which remains intact, as far as I can tell.

Now, it may appear to the casual reader of my tappings that these launch campaigns consist of nothing but parties, poker nights, and trips to the Luna, just as one might get the impression, from watching NASA videos, that astronauts spend all their time on orbit creating floating drops of liquid in the middle of their habitable volume and then consuming said drops like sharks, closing with them with mouths agape. The truth, of course, is that aside from brief popular-science-level forays into the shallows of the technical ocean associated with such a project, the rest seems pretty routine, although - again turning to NASA for the well-worn phrase - there's nothing "routine" about it.

In any event, campaign social events are less so for interpreters, who are called upon to interpret for management, and also for the rank and file who, once the fine words are pronounced from the head table, want to share a glass and a story with the foreigner across the table.

But now, I'm waxing semi-philosophical, perhaps cloyingly so. This would hence appear to be a cue to haul my butt out of my room and go do some exercise.



alexpgp: (Default)

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