Tag Archives: DOT.TUNES

2012 Will Be a Blogging Year (and what I didn’t tell you about 2011)

I just looked at the end-of-year summary that WordPress sends to folks who use its blogging platform, showing me what 2011 looked like.

Sooooo….last year I authored exactly 14 posts.

14!

That’s abysmal.

I. Am. Ashamed.

I am constantly extolling the virtue of regular blogging to my clients, and in 2011 I was thoroughly remiss.

And unlike 2010, where I was a blogging superstar (relatively), in 2011, I was a friggin blogging hermit!

And it’s not like I didn’t have a lot going on to blog about.

So to make up for my total lack of posting, here is my 2011 in review.

December: Art Basel Miami

Hotness was all over..even on the walls.

I attended my first Art Basel Miami, which (if you didn’t know) is the largest international art festival in the United States. I spent four days hanging with some of the hottest contemporary fine and street artists in the game, partying at Miami’s most exclusive night clubs and meeting with clients in a whirlwind where days and nights seemed to blend together. Big ups to Sanford Biggers, Martin Luther, Rich Medina, Sapna Lal and all the good folks at Bardot, Townhouse, Gigi and Bond Street.

November: Jump N’ Funk After Experience at Red Rooster

The After Experience at Red Rooster was the bomb!

If you’ve never been to a Jump N Funk, then you’ve been missing one of the best parties ever. Literally. Jump N Funk is an afrobeat party, celebrating the life and music of Fela. The first time I attended a JNF, at WMC 2005, I left the event sweating like a slave. I was hooked. 2011 was the 10 year anniversary, and Rich Medina was in top form as he tore the roof off of the Red Rooster in Harlem, after the anniversary show at Harlem Stage.

October: The Digital Strategist

I was the guest of David Muhammed, the Digital Strategist, on his public access show on SoMa TV. In the renovated studio at Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey, I was interviewed about my experiences in the technology and mobile space. I posted a short piece about the interview, which lasted about 50 minutes, but felt like five, earlier, but if you missed it, here it is again.

September: Born To Shine

I spent some time with Rich Medina in September, who was fresh off of the show Master of the Mix (produced by GTM Central and presented by Smirnoff) on the set of Time Warner Cable’s new program, Born To Shine. Rich was the resident DJ for the show, which was recorded on the 106 & Park set, and provided his unique banter and musical je ne sais quoi to the show.

August: Q3030

I started consulting a tech start-up out of Atlanta, called Q3030. The brain-child of Marq Sears, a serial entrepreneur, Q3030 had developed an new technology, called The Cube, an interactive platform that enables brands to place interactive branded advertisements on a number of highly trafficked websites, like MediaTakeOut.com. I was brought in to help map out the strategic direction for the company, content acquisition, capitalization and branding. They’re actively seeking angel investment, but are moving forward.

July: Martha’s Vineyard

In what has become somewhat of an annual tradition, I took a working vacation and spent a week in Martha’s Vineyard with the family. We rented a quaint three bedroom house on a lake in Oaks Bluff.  Every day we hit the beach, the strip, the lake or some other outdoor destination. Now my kids are now hooked on the place, and it’s looking like this IS, in fact, going to be an actual annual tradition.

June: The Marksmen

I rejoined Marksmen Productions, a company I had worked with for several years, and immediately jumped back in the fray working on some really innovative projects. Several years ago, the Marksmen developed DOT.TUNES, a web-based application that gave users the ability to remotely access all the content of the iTunes library remotely over an internet-connected device. Since that time, they’ve developed several applications that run off of the DT platform, including HookUp (remote sharing over multiple DT instances), ReVenue and !mpulse. Stay tuned for the developments on this front in 2012!

May: Cannes Film Festival

Free Angela, the documentary film arrives in 2012.

I took my second trip to the South of France for the 64th Annual Cannes Film Festival, where I put to use everything I learned on my first trip. I attended a few premiers, ate frogs legs, partied in a castle…and…on the beach…and…on a yacht…and…well you get the picture. I also met with some of the hottest up-and-coming film-makers, directors and producers. I also started working with Free Angela, the documentary film on Angela Davis by Shola Lynch, in association with Canal Plus, De Films En Anguille, and BET (yes, BET).

April: The Today Show

I'm waxing eloquent about going grey!

The highlight for April (aside from my 41st birthday) was being invited to participate in a focus group that was being taped for the Today show on NBC. The focus group was assembled to talk about perceptions related to aging, and whether grey was sexy or not. The segment, which aired shortly after taping, can be seen here. Check me out in my 2 seconds of fame, when I say “I love her with the grey.”

March: Winter Music Conference

I attended my third (or was it fourth?) WMC in Miami at the Miami Convention Center. It was my first WMC off the strip and in the convention center, and the mood was noticeably muted. I sat on a panel discussing the future of mobile with some mobile industry luminaries and hung out with Benzino and Dave Mays (the former owners of The Source Magazine) at their posh recording studio in downtown Miami (out of which they also publish their new publication, Hip Hop Weekly). I also spent a few hours at the King of Diamonds, the…ahem…’gentlemen’s club’, but we can talk about that later.

February: Morgan 4 Congress 2012

The new look of the M4C website!

If you followed me in 2010, you know that I was working with Vincent Morgan, a Democratic Candidate for Congress, running against Charles Rangel in the 15th District of New York (what is commonly referred to as Harlem or Upper Manhattan). Although he lost, it was a learning experience, and in February of this year, he assembled his inner circle to strategize for his 2012 run. We relaunched his website, created new marketing materials, and put together a strong team for his next run. Look for his formal announcement soon and repeat after me: “Morgan for Congress 2012!”

January: KiwiTech

I joined KiwiTech, a Washington, D.C. based mobile application development firm, that was moving from developing apps for the publishing sector, into the media space. This small family owned and operated outfit has developed over 600 iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad apps to date, and shows no signs of slowing down.

If you’ve made it down this far, let me say that one of my resolutions is to blog at least once a week in 2012. Which means that if I actually do what I say I’m going to do, you can expect at least 52 posts from me this year!

Yaayyy!

Now lets see how long it takes me to fall off the blogging wagon this time!

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10 Billion App Downloads and You DON’T Need One?

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard the recent announcement by Apple that they’ve just eclipsed 10 billion app downloads in the Apple App Store.

Starting from the release of the iPhone in 2007, the Apple App Store passed the 1 billion download mark in April of 2009, after opening in July of 2008. That’s a ridiculous pace by any standard.

Tap Tap Revenge is one of the more popular iTunes Apps

Even though much of this traffic was driven by highly popular titles like Tap Tap Revenge and Angry Birds, the reality is that apps have captivated much of the public’s attention, and are as common as the devices upon which they are deployed.

If you’re not an Apple-o-phile, you’ll still be impressed by the estimated 2.8 billion Android apps that have been downloaded to date.

Android is making a strong showing in the app space as well.

What does this all mean?

It means that people find great utility in their mobile devices and much of that utility has been driven by apps.

It also means that apps are a useful tool for brands interested in providing utility to their audiences, in what is becoming an increasingly traditional methodology.

Own a brick-and-mortar establishment? You should have an app that at a minimum, provides turn-by-turn directions to your door. Sure, they can go to GoogleMaps and find you, but why give Google those metrics? Why force your potential customer to take that extra step?

Are you an artist? Your app should stream your music (or at least snippets), provide access to your music video, pictures, show dates and special event, like listening parties or release dates. If you’re interested in making money, your app should direct users to your mobile-based store front allowing purchases downloaded directly to their device.

Maybe you’ve got a service-based business. Your app can simply be an abridged version of your website, providing one-click access to your phone, email or full mobile site. You can also use push notifications to send out blog posts, where you showcase your service-specific knowledge and expertise.

Five years ago, when I was working with The Marksmen and we were introducing DOT.TUNES, the first iPhone app which allowed users to remote access their entire iTunes library from any device capable of an internet connections, we realized that we had an uphill battle, as smart phones (and the concept of ‘apps’) were still very niche.

I acknowledge that we were ahead of our time (DT was released prior to the availability of Apple’s software developer’s kit) and were definitely on the leading edge of the entire app movement, but even then we realized that apps were how mobile users would access and consume content.

Mobile phones, including smart phones, would invariably have memory and processing constraints, and apps offered a simple way of providing one-click access to great utility, without compromising memory or processing speeds.

Fast forward five years, and Google, Nokia, Samsung, Blackberry, Palm, Windows all have their own apps, and are all seeking to replicate Apple’s success.

Big brands like Hyundai, Pepsi, Old Navy, Walmart, all have apps. And smaller brands are starting to embrace apps as well. WeHarlem’s app, provides a social media app developed specifically for Harlemites. There’s even a Dutch municipality which allows users to file complaints via an iPhone app.

IMO, if you’re a brand looking to forge deeper connections with your core audience, penetrate the market, provide greater utility to your current customers, or simply take advantage of the numerous opportunities that mobile applications provide, developing an app for your brand is a wise investment.

If you’re interested in learning more about mobile applications, and how they can help your brand, feel free to shoot me an email or give me a call.

I’d love to hear from you!

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Go mobile or go the way of the dinosaur.

Ad & Marketing Industry News

Last night, I read an article in AdAge about how both Google and Facebook were staking their respective futures on mobile, and how mobile was increasingly becoming the foundation of their efforts.

The Marksmen are a production unit ahead of their time.

Since 2005, when I started working with The Marksmen, developing applications that could be accessed and utilized from mobile devices (it all started with the Treo), I knew that mobile represented the future of computing.

Notice I said “computing” as opposed to content consumption or the internet, because with the advent of the smartphone, there are fewer and fewer things that one can do exclusively on a PC that can’t be done on a mobile device.

It was while at DOT.TUNES that I cut my mobile teeth.

From there it was DOT.TUNES, the first mobile application developed for the iPhone BEFORE the release of the iPhone SDK, which allowed users to remotely access their entire iTunes library directly from their mobile devices (even if it wasn’t an iPhone – holla!).

I even did a stint at MX Telecom (now OpenMarket), one of the largest mobile aggregators in the world, to learn about the ins-and-outs of the mobile industry, from the perspective of the underlying technology behind SMS/MMS/PSMS/Wap, mobile billing, etc.

Ever since, I have been preaching about the importance of mobile to anyone who would listen.

I tell virtually all the clients I consult, that they need to adopt a mobile strategy.

Set up a basic SMS service.

Build a mobile version (or mobile optimized version) of your website.

Create a brand specific mobile app.

Do anything to incorporate some mobile elements to your brand identity or risk going the way of the dinosaur.

I’m saying, if Google and Facebook are banking so heavily on it, doesn’t it seem to make good business sense?

They’re only multi-billion dollar companies.

Clearly, there is some wisdom to their actions.

WeHarlem knows mobile. Do you WeHarlem?

Recently, I’ve been speaking with Sergio Lilavois, one of the founding partners of WeHarlem, an interactive e-community for those that live, work or socialize in Harlem.

WeHarlem has launched several innovative initiatives directed squarely at harnessing and applying the power of mobile devices.

They have a social media website, WeHarlem.com, which links residents and local businesses.

In addition, they developed device specific applications, for the iPhone, Blackberry and Android devices, giving WeHarlem users the ability to access all of WeHarlem’s features on-the-go.

One of the most valuable features of WeHarlem’s mobile app, is the Wi-Fi locator, which enables users to find Harlem businesses offering free Wi-Fi in their establishments.

WeHarlem’s strategy involves providing Harlem residents and businesses with bi-directional utility, generating foot-traffic, loyalty and retention.

We’re in discussions right now to help bring businesses even deeper into the fold, by offering services to enable them to more closely connect with their target audiences using mobile and social media technology.

There have been other shining moments, when the strategies I propose actually gain a foothold.

Vincent Morgan, for example, knew immediately that he wanted it all, a mobile version of his primary website and an SMS alert service.

Although he failed in his efforts to dethrone Charles Rangel, he succeeded in rewriting the way candidates utilize the web, social media and mobile in their campaigns.

Anyway, the AdAge article renewed my passion for evangelizing mobile and I will continue to preach the value of mobile to all who will listen!

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Stephen Chukumba says: “The Art of the Entrepreneur”

For those who know me, I’ve been a lawyer in private practice (Chukumba & Cook, LLC), IP specialist (Musa Consulting), partner & general counsel for a digital promotions company (Digiwaxx), head of business and legal affairs for a production company (Marksmen Productions), partner and director of business development for a web and application start up (DOT.TUNES), business development manager for a mobile aggregator (MX Telecom) and I’ve counseled numerous companies in the capacity of an independent business consultant (Red Hot, Sony, Wu-Tang, etc.).

I’ve also started a number of different ventures, USA Records, Source International, C&C Consulting, and most recently, Shadow Propaganda.

I’ve had one job in the past twelve years (MX Telecom). When I interviewed for that job, I was asked ‘I can see that you’ve done a lot of entrepreneurial things in the past. How do I know you’re going to stay here, and not leave to pursue the next big thing?’ At the time, my response was that mobile was where I really wanted to be, and I saw a lot of growth in the space. I wanted to be a part of that growth.

But a little over a year later, I find myself, once again, engaged in a new entrepreneurial venture, FonLabs, and have fully come to terms with the fact that I’m not an employee.

To put it plainly, I’m a chronic entrepreneur.

I’ve met many entrepreneurs in my day, masquerading as employees. We’re fairly easy to spot (if you ask me). While they may be on their 9 to 5 grind, their minds are constantly engaged in contemplating grandiose plans, that are simply incongruous with their jobs. They are trapped between the security of a steady paycheck and the lure of true wealth that can only be achieved by working for self.

Being an entrepreneur has its obvious risks. There is no steady paycheck. You’ve got to earn to eat. What’s more, if you’re not constantly hustling, the burden of your expenses can quickly break you.

But the risks pale in comparison to the upside. Your time is your own. There is no one over your shoulder, critiquing your performance or micro-managing your every move. No office politics. Unlimited earning potential. I could go on and on, but in a word, being an entrepreneur is freedom.

Many of the businesses I’ve started never hit the 5 year mark (the benchmark of a successful business). A few did. Some of my businesses generated over six figures annually. Others stayed in the red.

The sign of a successful entrepreneur, however, is not home many times you failed or succeeded, but rather, whether you were able to achieve success after failure. Did you throw in the towel? Or did you get up, bloody and battered, but unbroken and ready for another round?

I am an entrepreneur, and I think I may have finally found the brass ring. Whether FonLabs, is, indeed, that ring, remains to be seen. But I can tell you definitively, I’ve got a great team of like-minded partners, all hungry and ready to take the world by storm. We’ve got a tight plan, a fantastic product, excellent relationships and the indomitable spirit, that is the signature of any true entrepreneur.

For those of you suffering at a dead-end job, or merely tired of the day-to-day of working for a paycheck, come up with an exit strategy. Focus on your strengths and what truly inspires you. Stack away some chips. Put a little aside each payday and plan for the day that you can liberate yourself and do you.

That’s the art of the entrepreneur – doing you – against all odds.

Here’s a ‘BIG UP!’ to all my fellow entrepreneurs. Holla at your boy if you ever need any advice, or merely words of inspiration. I’ve given counsel to hundreds of people in my day, and I’d be happy to offer you whatever sage advice I can.

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