Episode 48: Annette Tonti, CEO of MoFuse on Connected Intelligence, Raising Venture Funding and Mobilizing Your Blog
Get great advice from industry icon, Annette Tonti, founder of Blue Streak who is launching her second digital media company, MoFuse. The 122 million blogs worldwide make perfect "media snacking" content to view from your phone. Annette is helping bloggers make their blogs "phone ready," tracking readers and monetizing the content via the mobile channel.
Annette says women start businesses at two times the rate of men but don't have easy access to significant venture money. Hear her story of raising capital - almost $30 million in funding. Get advice on how to lead, not react, to the market with your business planning and why that's a must.
Susan and Annette talk about mentoring and the right steps to getting advice from those you most respect. These helpful tips and specific ideas will help you get the kind of advice you need from those most well suited to give it to you -- the post powerful and successful people in their category.
Annette weighs in on the state of the climate crisis and her experience getting trained by Al Gore's team on his climate project. She shares the axiom by which she leads her life by quoting Frank Lloyd Wright -- a "power of intention" discussion ensues...
The end of the show gets into the future of social media. What does the world look like when we're past Open Social? Hear Annette's concept of the "social media engine" and "connected intelligence."
Another Dishy episode full of wisdom, laughs and happenings on the rocky road of life.
This program is brought to you by personallifemedia.com
Welcome to Dishy Mix. I’m your host Susan Bratton. On today’s show I have Annette Tonti. Annette is the CEO of a company called Mo Fuse and it’s a mobile content publishing network. It’s essentially a way that bloggers can have their content available on Smartphones. So we’re going to learn more about that whole market and about Annette Tonti who is clearly one the leading female entrepreneurs in the internet advertising and someone that I’ve known since the year 2000. And we’ll talk about the day we met and some funny things that happened. On today’s show we’re going to talk about how to mobilize your blog. We’re going to talk about the status of Al Gore’s climate project. Of course we’ll touch on women entrepreneurs and what that’s about. We’ll talk about Frank Lloyd Wright and the secret of Frank Lloyd Wright. We’ll talk about mentoring and something I like to call connected intelligence, the future of social media.
Annette: Here’s the beauty of it. Any mobile phone around the world can access your blog mobilely. And one more quick thing. We could very quickly help you do this. We have a very easy way when somebody accesses your normal URL, your web-based URL on their mobile phone, it detects it as a mobile phone and automatically gives you the mobile version of it. For the most part we want to help folks that have anywhere from say 50,000 visitors a month on up through the millions a month. …quite young and one of the most important things that we’re doing right now is testing out a number of the players out there for mobile ad serving and mobile ad delivery. So stay tuned over time. Right now you can certainly select either Ad Sense or Ad Mop but we’re going to be adding some other choices out there. One of the most difficult things for an entrepreneur to do is chase after a market. You never really want to be in the position to have to do that. I tend to actually think that one of the most important skills that I ever somehow got was networking. And we hear it, we almost overhear it as women, but it’s absolutely so important.
Susan: Welcome Annette.
Annette: Hi there Susan. Great to be here with you.
Susan: It’s great to have you. I’m so glad to have you on the show. I’m always looking to balance men and women on Dishy Mix and you are certainly one of the most preeminent female entrepreneurs in our industry and you’re onto a new business. So, we met when you were part of Blue Streak and I want to go back and talk about that but let’s get right to what you’re doing today with Mo Fuse. Tell us about it.
Annette: Mo Fuse is very exciting. We help bloggers, frankly anyone can use it, but we help bloggers to very quickly mobilize their blog but moreover it’s really important for things. One is you get analytics, you get promotion, you get advertising and we’re going to be doing something very exciting. We’re going to be integrating the pc version of your blog with your mobile blog.
Susan: Let me ask a few clarifying questions. I went on to Mo Fuse, I registered for my blog DishyMix.com and I just did that recently so I don’t have the full understanding so this will be good because I’m kind of in the process of doing it. So what I understand Mo Fuse to be, for the very first piece of it is, if someone wants to access my blog from their phone, like their iphone or what have you, and they want to be able to see it, and actually see it in their web browser, you change my blog so that it’s accessible from a Smartphone. Is that what it is?
Annette: Absolutely. But also any mobile phone. And here’s the beauty of it. Any mobile phone around the world can access your blog mobilely. And one more quick thing. We could very quickly help you do this. We have a very easy way when somebody accesses your normal URL, so your web-based URL on their mobile phone, on it detects it as a mobile phone and automatically gives you the mobile version of it.
Susan: Got it. And how does it do that, just at a very high level?
Annette: Very high level, we basically we’re not really transcoding, we’re making sure that it works extremely well on every single type of mobile phone out there. Obviously driven by a database, we recognize what phone it is actually accessing it is and then we put up the appropriate site, or the blog, based on whatever phone is hitting it. By the way, we were the first to launch an iphone version of this.
Susan: Okay. So now I want to go back into more of the things that you offer but let’s get some market stats. I know you have some because obviously you’re a venture funded organization. So tell us about how many bloggers there are out in the world today and how many people are accessing blogs via phones. What’s all that?
Annette: That’s a great question and there’s probably about -- all kinds of numbers -- but probably about 122 million blogs worldwide. Every day there’s another new one. Our marketplace, we’re going after the sweet spot of sort what I’ll call mid-tier. So the largest of the bloggers, the TMZ’s of the world probably are doing this on their own, we’d love to do it for them but likely they’ll be mobilizing their blog content on their own. We’re going after sort of that mid-tier and long tail blogs? Welcome. Please join us. But for the most part we want to help the folks that have anywhere from say maybe 50,000 visitors a month on through the millions a month. And the blogging industry, as most of you probably are aware, is taking off. It’s becoming sort of that next generation where we get our news and information. And we’re excited about it that’s for darn sure. By the way, we’re hitting bloggers around the world. China and Russia are hugely using Mo Fuse to mobilize their blogs as well.
Susan: Well especially in China and Russia where there’s less pc penetration and people access the web from their phone. It makes perfect sense. So 122 million bloggers? The mid-tier bloggers are getting 50,000 to a million or more visitors a month. What are bloggers using to track the traffic on their blogs right now? What are the pre-eminent places to do that?
Annette: Well that’s one of the most important aspects of why would you mobilize with Mo Fuse. Really mobilizing is one very small piece of it, actually. You really want to know after you’ve mobilized who’s looking at you, what are they using to look at you, look at your blog with so those analytics pieces are the most important piece, we think, why people will want to use us. Sort of like feedburner does for rss feeds we’re doing it for the mobile version of the blog in terms of giving you analytics and being able to see how many people are viewing. It’s difficult to show uniques at this moment for a mobile site, because if you’re on a Verizon phone and I’m on a Verizon phone, hard to tell exactly who’s accessing you uniquely. However we’re doing everything we can to get to the point where we’re delivering really detailed views on an hourly basis of who’s accessing your blog.
Susan: So in addition to that, when I sign up to have my site Mo Fused, my blog Mo Fused, I’m getting the analytics of how many people are tapping me moblily, which I’m probably not getting through my regular blog traffic tracking service?
Annette: Correct. You are not.
Susan: Okay. Interesting.
Annette: We’re basically hosting that new site so now it’s a new mobile site. We’re actually giving you a new a URL, a URL with your…whatever you chose dot mofuse dot mobi.
Susan: So I can have it just be dishymix.com.
Annette: dishymix.mobi. And absolutely if somebody gets on a mobile phone and goes after dishymix.com we absolutely can easily help you have code that automatically sends them to the Mobi version of your blog.
Susan: Nice. So I put that code on my blog? You send me a little bit of code and I put that on my blog?
Annette: As a matter of fact it’s all in there, it’s all in the infrastructure but for you Susan we’ll send it to you special.
Susan: Oh no, Annette, I can pull it off the website! No problem at all! Just trying to lay the whole thing out. And then the next thing in addition to the mobile visibility and the analytics, so tracking those incremental customers that are invisible to me as a blogger right now, I have the ability to join into an ad network. So you’ve wanted to do an ad network for a while. You leapfrogged past online right into mobile. You have an ad network now of blogger sites and you’re monetizing my site when it’s on a phone. Is that how that’s working?
Annette: That’s exactly right. And we’re quite young and one of the most important things that we’re doing right now is testing out a number of the players out there for mobile ad serving and mobile ad delivery. So stay tuned over time. Right now you certainly can select either Ad Sense or Ad Mop but we’re going to be adding some other choices out there. And longer term we may even be, for certain premier sites, certainly doing much more in terms of repping them and building some real good advertising, I’d call it value there.
Susan: So some custom deals, custom integration. Who are the top mobile ad networks right now?
Annette: I would say the leaders out there are certainly Third Screen Media’s been out for there a while. Ad Mob’s been out there for a while. And what’s interesting is a lot of these young companies that are coming up that are actually some of them building mobile sites have also got “a network” so I would tell you that guys like Ringleader who are very young are out there talking about being the first sort of third party ad server for mobile. They also have a “network”. But they’re also repping mobile media so they’re a company to watch. Companies that have been out for there a while, certainly Google. Companies like Viva have been serving to mobile are so they’re a company to watch. Companies that have been out there for a while companies like have been right now we’re going to see in 2008, end of 2008, beginning of 2009 sort of a rapid ramp I think of the usual suspect ad serving networks that jump into the mobile space. It’s still very early in the mobile space for ad serving
Susan: I know. It’s been a long time coming, but it will. Tell me about Mo Fuse. When did you start it? How did you get the idea? Who’s funding it? How big’s the company? Give me that whole story.
Annette: I found Mo Fuse after it was started by a very young guy here in the -- I live in, by the way, greater Rhode Island here, so greater Providence area. He had an issue when back in August he was with his girlfriend in Disney World and he could not access, and by the way the gentleman is 24 years old, 25 years old now, and so I mention that age because he’s the perfect sweet spot of somebody whose expectations are really high in terms of what he’s going to get on his mobile phone. He was frustrated, went back to his hotel room that night, started playing around, came home, decided to really create some mobile sites so that he could access them himself on his phone. He started showing that to some of his buddies and the buddies were saying “Well can you mobilize this for me and can you mobilize that for me?” He ended up saying “Hold on a minute”, went back to the drawing board, built a platform and said to his fellows “Here. You go out and mobilize your own sites.” He’s actually built out a full capability of building a mobile site all completely laying at all on their own so it is a mobile site builder however the bloggers in the blogosphere have really found him and starting with a number of posts in places like Tech Con, for example, it’s taken off. So I found him, call it late February time frame, locally I was looking at a lot of different players here in the greater Boston-greater Rhode Island area and I basically called him up, I said “Hey. Let’s talk.” So I spoke with him for a little while, for a month or so, talked to folks that were around him and working with him and I decided to join forces. I said I think I could do a lot here by bringing Mo Fuse to the forefront quickly. And that’s how it happened.
Susan: And so you discovered him, in a way, and then have you raised money to get the company started?
Annette: We are in the process.
Susan: You’re in the process. All that site is built out and you haven’t raised any money yet?
Annette: Well that’s exactly right. And let me mention this. When raising money, it’s really important -- I always tell folks this and I don’t know that they always get this -- it’s really important to do your off-Broadway work. I call it off-Broadway. And the off-Broadway work is go talk to a few investors that you kind of don’t care about but it could help you find the little issues with your model; because there’s going to be issues. So we just really finalized that phase with sort of a local fund and I’m very excited we have a couple of upcoming investor meetings in the next week or so. I’m excited. We’re kind of moving now onto Broadway, I’ll call it. So that’s where we are and an exciting time for us.
Susan: How much money are you looking to raise in your first round? Is it a series A? Are you looking for seed money or where are you in that?
Annette: Great question. I’m an old pro at seed money. I’d actually love seed money right now. That would be terrific for us. It would be great to raise about a million. A million would take this company well into its first year. And the company splits out pretty simply in terms of where the money gets spent. Sort of half on engineering and half on marketing. It’s a fairly straightforward model and I love that about it. It’s also not a very expensive model compared to some of the old school high tech companies and because it’s web 2.0 technologies I’ll say, because it’s almost, you can really nash little things up much more quickly than we could even ten years ago. Wow. I mean even I’m astounded at how much we can accomplish with a lot less money.
Susan: I think also it’s one of those kinds of companies where as long as the bloggers can find you and they like the kind of advertising that you’re going to serve when people access their blogs from a phone. As long as those work what does anyone have to lose? Why would you not just sign up for Mo Fuse right now? If you’re a blogger? You’d be crazy not to add that distribution channel and mobilize your blog. So it’s really for you just dialing everything in right and making sure that bloggers are satisfied and you’re generating some revenue for them, right? So that’s it.
Annette: Exactly. And one more quick aside. Bloggers in particular that blog content we love it for mobile. Because guess what? People like to read their blogs on the go. Blogs are generally not overly long. You can really consume that media.
Susan: It’s a snack. It’s a media snack. And it fits well in the model. That totally makes sense.
Annette: I love that term, media snack.
Susan: Me too. I like that too. We’re going to go to a break but before we do one of the things that I wanted to do I just wanted to talk about Blue Streak, your first company. I want to know how many years you had Blue Streak and I want you to tell us over the years how many different business models you created in that company. Because that is the one thing that I know about you is that you have this elasticity of understanding the market dynamics as they change and moving your company into what it needs to be to stay alive and to be profitable and to do that. So just tell us that brief story before we go for a break.
Annette: Thanks for the intro but I will tell you one of the most difficult things for an entrepreneur to do is sort of chase after a market. You never really want to be in the position to have to do that. I say that because we started Blue Streak literally in 1998, I joined full out in ‘99. We had our first investment money in ’99. Hard to put yourself back there but before this whole internet thing was really taking off, lot of money pouring into it.
Susan: You raised almost $30 million.
Annette: We did. And I was the CEO during the whole time we did the raise. Then the Behrens came out in March of 2001 and…
Susan: The what article?
Annette: I was going to say the “Behrens” article. It was a famous moment in time that I remember that talked about how all of these companies on the Internet were about to implode and there was this amazing burst of the bubble. And what was interesting is as soon as that started happening our investors, basically I did the last large round which was $17.5 million the end of year 2000. By March of the following year our investors were freaked out. There’s no other word to put it. And of course we were in a start up, we were absolutely correct when we started that company. You know because you were in the same kind of a company…
Susan: Yeah. Rich Media Advertising.
Annette: We were right on. But I tell you we were a little early for what we were doing.
Susan: We were too. At Enliven. They were too early. It started out as Narrative and then became Enliven.
Annette: Exactly. We were sort of the young upstart, turns out the guys that came after us did better.
Susan: I don’t think anybody did that well ever, in that model, do you?
Annette: Poindexter did all right.
Susan: Did they? Who bought them?
Annette: I’m sorry, not Poindexter. That’s not right. The company that had the little hats on them with the propellers. The guys that sold themselves to Gannet. Point Role. They did awesome. And part of the reason I think why they did so well is they put a useful model together for the user. They linked in media and a marketer could just upload, make it happen and click off what media that they wanted to use user, etc. So they put a very nice model together.
Annette: I don’t think the story’s been told yet with Rich Media but you and I were both very early there. Anyway, you asked me a quick question, here’s the thing: one of the issues of having a lot of money from investors, and I’ll say it this way, sometimes they cause the company to pave in unnatural ways and the reason is because they’re all nervous and they kind of swoop in and look at you for a little bit and then if the markets change, and our market really changed, very quickly so they decided to make some changes. And the changes of course usually come first from different management, put somebody else in there who’s been doing this before. And a lot of times that works and sometimes it doesn’t work. Basically the model got changed dramatically and...
Susan: You turned into an ad serving company.
Annette: Turned into an ad serving company then they brought new management in who bought an email platform, which really was a dramatic switch. And truth be told at the end, we ended up selling it in parts. Now the good news is our investors didn’t completely lose but we never had the home run, of course, everybody wants when you get into this. We were around 8 years by the way, by ourselves.
Susan: Eight years and sold in parts but at least sold some things. Not the story, not the outcome you wanted but you learned a hell of a lot and there’s a good chance of applying…you can apply every single thing you learned to Mo Fuse.
Annette: I am war torn [INAUDIBLE] Actually I learned a ton that you can’t learn anywhere else than just doing it.
Susan: Exactly. Well we’re going to take a short break and when we come back you’re going to get to hear more from Annette Tonti, the CEO of a new company called Mo Fuse. I wanted to also encourage you as listeners to join my Dishy Mix Facebook fan club. If you go onto Facebook and you search for Dishy Mix, you have to make it all one word -- Dishy Mix is one word, not two -- you can join my fan club and I give away free books. I’ve just given away copies of Ignited with Vince Thompson. I’ve given away copies of Authenticity from Joe Pine. I’m always getting you goodies. So I’d love for you to be able to have a platform for getting those goodies from me. As well, I have a listener survey that I’d like you to take. It’s on the Dishy Mix blog. You can just go right there and you can either search for “listener survey”or look on the left hand side, there’s always a little ad that says “take my listener survey” for my sponsors whose commercials you’re about to hear. They really appreciate knowing more about you. So let’s go to a commercial break. Thank my fabulous sponsors so much for supporting the show and letting you hear Annette Tonti today and we’ll be back to talk to her some more.
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Susan: We’re back and I’m with Annette Tonti the CEO of a company called Mo Fuse. If you are a blogger, go sign up, it’s free and it allows you to mobilize your blog so people can access you from any phone, which I love and did. So Annette I want to talk about a couple of other things. One of the things that I saw when I was reading your bio you were one of the people who was trained for Al Gore’s climate project. What do you think now, a couple of years later, the impact of that initiative where he essentially highly qualified appropriate people who he believed, or his team believed, had influence in the marketplace, in their market, their local market especially to come and learn, I think you were in Tennessee, you’ll tell me, and you got trained and then you were supposed to go back and present this to the Rotary Club and your Women’s Entrepreneur club and things like that. What do you think? Did it work?
Annette: It’s interesting. I was in the class that was actually the first large class. He had one class before us that actually were trained at his home. So, yes we went to Nashville it was early December a couple years ago. In fact, it was really at a moment in time where I would say, the mass hadn’t crossed that chasm to really go “yeah. We got an issue here.” The movie was out but it was kind of just out. At that moment it was absolutely sort of a passionate plea from a lot of folks, not the least of which was Al Gore himself, to “Look, this isn’t only getting to get solved only from the top down” it also has to be solved at home and in the media and locally and his goal and his vision is to train as many people as possible to go out and become sort of evangelists, to help the local communities, schools, like you mentioned, clubs, basically anyone you can get to listen to talk about not only the problem but what are those things that we can do at our level. Because there’s only so much we can do. We can’t all go out and sign the Kyoto Accord but we certainly can all do our part at home.
Susan: And so you think it made an impact?
Annette: I think it’s making an impact. It’s a long-term effort. The impact is really from, really organically it’s happening. I know online I’m still connected up with the folks and we sort of have this ongoing question and answer and helping each other out with various talks and those talks, I think that what also happened it seemed to me is, by the way after about three to five months from when I trained, it felt like there was an enormous change, like a sea change had happened and everybody was talking about the climate issue. It got tremendous media attention which it really needed to get. And so…I think it’s really helping but I do think that we all have to do so much more, from the top down, from the government down and continue to work locally as well.
Susan: Let’s hope we have some changes coming in our future. I asked you before the show when we were kind of connecting and preparing on this, I asked you if you had an axiom by which you live your life. And you had one. Not everyone does, by the way. And I liked it, for two reasons. I like the man that you quoted and I like the sentiment. Can you share it with us?
Annette: I love Frank Lloyd Wright, he’s hard not to love what he’s done, what he did in his life. Basically says the thing that always happens that you really believe in and the belief in the thing makes it happen. I mean, we’ve all kind of heard that before but I know with my life I sort of get this little fire in my belly and when I have that, when I know I really want to get something, I will do it and it’s one of those things, chicken and an egg, I don’t know whether I put my mind to it and I’m stubborn and I’m not going to stop until I make it happen or whether the universe lines up behind me and starts helping me make it happen. I’ve seen the universe line up, make it happen and then drop a bomb on it. Maybe that was because I was supposed to learn some lesson.
Susan: So I’m Californian so we call it the power of intention. Of course that’s what The Secret was all about, all about holding a belief and not letting it go and focusing your energy on it. And I have certainly seen you do that for many years. As a matter of fact, I was thinking, you reminded me where we met. We met in 2000 at Michael Chong’s event called Web Attack. And Dennis Rodman, you reminded me, wasn’t his hair bright red orange at the time? Remember he was dressing up in women’s clothes and all that stuff? That dude was having an existential crisis, I mean massively. And it’s so funny too, I was looking for some photos of that when Dennis Rodman rode into Web Attack on a motorcycle, Michael had created he called it king.com and it was supposed to be this King Kong-Fay Wray-Broadway version of the web world. I mean, who but Michael Chong could come up with that? He’s so unbelievably creative. And I was thinking about Dennis Rodman and he went from Web Attack to domestic violence. That guy just like…he just like beat up his girlfriends and who knows what! What a disaster. What a disaster.
Annette: I just remember seeing him come right down the aisle. We’re talking about an enclosed building here and he came right down the aisle in his very loud motorcycle.
Susan: I don’t like loud motorcycles. So I want to talk to you about two things and we only have a few minutes. You have put together over your life some mentors and they’re helped you in different ways and you were telling me about the various ways that you’ve connected with your mentoring. There are a lot of people who listen to the show who either want to be a mentor or who would like to connect with a mentor, especially women who are coming up through the ranks and want to have some support from the women ahead of them. What advice can you give to listeners who are seeking mentors about how they would assess and find a mentor or a series of mentors or “their personal board of directors” that can support them? How do you do that? How do approach someone about that?
Annette: That’s a really, really good question. I tell you, I come to find out that I tend to actually think one of the most important skills that I ever somehow got was networking and we hear it, we almost over hear it as women, but it’s absolutely so important. So I’m one that believes that it really is an important thing to gather a group of, as you called it a personal board of directors so to speak, that can help you and guide you along the way. Easily said, kind of difficult to do and one thing for sure it’s very difficult to find a mentor that can help you in all aspects. So what certainly I would do as a women, it really is helpful to recognize you can leverage both women and men to help you in the business front as long as you sort of keep it all business, it works. I’ve done that. That weren’t that many women that had raised a lot of entrepreneurial capital, yet. That’s changing I believe, which is great. So I would definitely do your homework and if you…a more interesting thing that happens is you might be afraid of somebody because you’re looking at them and you’re thinking that’s person’s sort of pseudo-famous…
Susan: You’re intimidated.
Annette: You’re intimidated. But for the most part human beings are all alike and they get flattered if you notice them and say “Hey, I actually really enjoyed your work, I think you’re doing a great job. I’d love to talk to you, can I buy you a coffee? Can I email with you?” Anything like that. As long as you’re not sort of stalking them and you just recognize that it may not happen with that person, if it somebody you don’t have a connection to, that there’s no Linked In connection, you can’t get a good introduction to. Generally people will be flattered if you ask them. One thing I’ve learned about myself over the years is I’m really an independent person and that’s actually not been great because sometimes I think I can do it all myself but in reality you never can do it all yourself. And right now, starting a new company I’ve noticed that I’ve not been embarrassed about asking certain people to help me with some introductions and it’s happening very nicely and very easily. But I think women, women tend to get intimidated and also we recognize, I’m not one that would say you have to use all women because you’re not going to be able to do, it’s not even healthy. Find some terrific men because they’re out there for sure to help you in the business as well.
Susan: I think another thing about mentoring, I think when I was in my twenties and I thought about having a mentor often I think we might be under the disillusionment that there are rules around mentoring and in reality that there are no rules and you don’t have to pick someone and stick with them for a long time. Often mentoring is a moment, it’s a mentored moment of advice that you get from someone whose judgment and experience you trust and it’s just in that moment. The second thing that I think, when people have approached me in the past about my willingness to mentor them and I’ve been unwilling because of being too busy, it’s often been because they’ve lacked any ability to be specific about what I would help them with. So saying to someone, saying to Annette, “Annette, I need to raise money for my company. I don’t understand the process. I don’t understand seed, A, B round, how does it work, what do I need? Could you, in a twenty minute conversation, just give me the high level construct of what I’m up to so that I can start asking more intelligent and deeper questions to everyone around me who’s had that experience? Could you give me that first kick start of knowledge?” Well that is the kind of question that someone could easily ask you and you could easily answer and you could do it in a way that you’ve completely mentored them in that moment and they may never need you again.
Annette: That is so smart. You’re exactly right and here’s why: if you give an open ended question “Would you be my mentor?” people don’t really know what that means. And with all the busyness that we’ve got in our lives, oh my goodness! One more thing that might wear me down or cause me another commitment that I can’t keep. That’s absolutely true. Give me a specific a question, I’m more than happy to help.
Susan: I want to wrap up the show and we’re running a little long so we have to be terse but I think you have some really good ideas about where the future of social networking is going. You talked about this concept of an engine when we were getting ready for the show and I want you to just project out into the future, we’re all in networks now, there’s open social and we’ll be able to move our connections from site to site and we get all of that piece but you’re talking about more intelligence being imbued in the social networking realm. What would that look like?
Annette: I had the wonderful experience of working with guys like Nicholas Negroponte in the early ‘90’s...
Susan: When you were at MIT.
Annette: Yeah. And before that even. He wrote a book called Being Digital and what reminded me is it’s really in 2000 about being connected. And frankly we all talked about this stuff, I was sort of at the time working in a heady place, we were all talking about the future. Really turning atoms to bits and why would you do it. Well, the most important thing is to help you in your life. So that there’s intelligence around this hive of bits, if you will, that’s describing your life. So today I go to Facebook and I go to Linked In and there’s other people saying that right now, like I think in the future we won’t be needing to go to those individual places at all. It’ll all just be in one arena. But I really think that the bigger issue here is enabling my life with the intelligence that is getting sort of pulled out, if you will, of all of the bits that are surrounding me that explain my life. Let me give you an example. Boy, I want Jiffy Lube to get much better at providing bits that are smart about what’s going on in my automobile when I need an oil change instead of me having to proactively look and figure that out. I would like to be social with them. Let them get better at having a real connection, that’s a digital connection to my automobile and frankly I think, eventually, all things get to be…have intelligence around the bits and that’s where I think the social moment that we’re in, we’re all connecting up, I think later it will be us connecting up to all the things in our lives and again having the intelligence to proactively enhance my life with that.
Susan: I’d like to go to one place and see every… I’d like to see your breadcrumbs all across the web in one place. So I want to know if you just posted the sailing trip you did with your husband on flickr or put pictures of you biking – not Harleys, road bikes -- biking in Rhode Island up on Facebook. I would like to be able to have a place that I can gather all the information about someone that I’m connected to and today that’s still so disparate. I think Open Social’s going to do that, it’s going to allow us to Google you socially, which I think would be interesting but I still have to go get that. Why can’t all that stuff just come to me as I’m interacting with you in email, or in my address book or on the web or whatever it is?
Annette: It’s a fantastic vision, Susan. I mentioned also today that it’s so cool that you can connect up with friends and people you haven’t talked to in a long time. I think in the future when you go throughout your life those people will be just…you’ll just bring them with you, sort of connected along the path and you won’t have that problem of “Gee I worked with you twenty years ago at AT&T. You’ve moved to Phoenix. I haven’t talked to you. Here you are again.” They’ll just be there with you.
Susan: I love that. I want to carry everyone with me. Yes, my [INAUDIBLE] baggage. My digital presence. The gifts of my connections, that’s how I look at it. Well Annette, thank you so much for sharing your time with us today. I know you’re in the middle of launching this new company so I really appreciate you taking the time to share a little bit about yourself with us
Annette: My pleasure.
Susan: It’s been a lot of fun getting to know you. I know everyone’s enjoyed and all the best with Mo Fuse. And if you are a blogger go check out Annette’s new company.
Annette: Thank you Susan.
Susan: Just want to remind all of you that I really appreciate it when you forward my show to your friends. I know they want to hear about Mo Fuse and Annette and all the things we talk about on Dishy Mix. As well, I do transcripts of the show and you can go to personallifemedia.com and get transcripts for any and all of the past episodes of Dishy Mix. I hope you have a great day today and I really appreciate you tuning in and I hope we delivered for you some experience, some entertainment and have a great day. I’m your host Susan Bratton.
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