E060: with Neil Young



about this episode

This week we have Neil Young, CEO and Founder of ngmoco the maker of We Rule. Jason Calacanis hosts This Week in Startups at 1pm PT Tuesdays and Fridays.

00:02:30 The Launch Conference will be Feb. 23rd & 24th at the San Francisco Design Center

00:03:30 Friday’s show will be a special “All Jason Haters” episode, Aaron Wall, @Miixxy you are invited and if you see yourself as a Jayter please contact Lon@thisweekin.com to set up your chance for an interview.

00:11:15 Thank you to Drobo for helping us out with the DroboElite

00:15:15 THE INTERVIEW with Neil Young

00:15:30 Tell me a little about ngmoco and when you got your start? Created June 26, 2008, Neil used to work for EA, he loved the iPhone and saw a great opportunity, they currently have 25 apps and 16 apps have been in the top 10, 110 employees and their company really was a hit when they switched to a free to play model

00:17:40 2.5M unique downloads and high hundreds of thousands play daily

00:18:30 Why is the game so addictive? They utilize simple core compulsion loops combined with social expression of design and social obligation features

00:21:20 Do you have people the area psychology majors working for you? No but as game makers we have learned along the way and understand how people play games

00:22:45 Reciprocation effect

00:25:30 What is the most activity you’ve witnessed? We don’t really look at individual use it alters reality, we try look at general stats, primarily number of friends, we have had people spend $10,000 on Mojo (in game potions that allow you to speed things up)

00:31:45 What is the future of iPad gaming? It’s a huge marketplace, we envisioned .5-1B iPhone like devices and still think app gaming is a huge opportunity, creatively we are only in the beginning.

00:37:40 Male v Female ratio of players? 55% male and 45% female

00:38:30 With free apps one can generally expect 60% iTouch (younger users) and 40% iPhone

00:39:30 Will we be able attack other kingdoms? Not sure, we discuss it but the ramifications may hurt the social experience

00:40:20 What is the future of the console? It’s a disaster and the budgets needed are out of control a top level game requires, the iPad will eat into peoples time and take time away from the console

00:43:10 Jason hasn’t dropped the game because he was given more land to build out his empire

00:43:30 If you are a developer check out ngmoco they are hiring

00:44:50 Growth is causing the occasional hiccups with the servers and they spend a lot of time working those issues

00:47:00 Riptano

00:49:30 THE NEWS with Lon Harris

00:52:00 Jason thinks games like Call of Duty need to incorporate more education and was a game developed called JasonNation a geography based education iPad game

00:59:20 TechCrunch TV Launches – Yesterday saw the launch of TechCrunch TV, a new streaming video network from the popular technology blog that features about 40 minutes of live programming a day focused on technology topics. These shows then rerun on a stream around the clock, both in a featured loop and with individual shows available on demand. The network will also highlight other videos made in the past for the TechCrunch blog.

The network launched with two shows – Keen On… (starring Andrew Keen) and “TechCrunch Now,” starring reporter Evelyn Rusli and the site’s bloggers discussing news of the day. More shows, including “Speaking Of…” with Cyan Banister are planned for later this week.

Have you checked out the network? What do you think? Is this a direct competitor for us at ThisWeekIn? Good guy running the show, he will watch on occasion, they will shine when they get big guests, Jason thinks Arrington is setting TechCrunch up to be sold.

01:05:30 Hulu Plus – A post went up today on the Hulu blog by CEO Jason Kilar introducing the new “Hulu Plus” service.

Hulu Plus is not a replacement for Hulu, but a new ad-supported subscription service. It will feature full seasons of almost every show that’s currently featured on Hulu, such as “MOdern Family,” “Glee,” “30 Rock,” “Saturday Night Live” and “Parks and Recreation,” along with archive classic shows like “Arrested Development,” “Law and Order: SVU” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

The service will also be available on Samsung Internet TV’s, gaming consoles like the Xbox and PS3 and Blu-Ray players, with more hardware options to come for watching Hulu on your TV. As well, a new Hulu Plus app for iPhone and iPad will be available allowing you to stream HD shows over Wi-Fi and 3G connections.

The package costs $9.99 a month. Invitations to the beta are currently available.

You’ve long been a fan of subscription systems like Rhapsody. Think Hulu Plus will have success? Are people willing to pay $10 a month for shows they can get on TV for free? Yes, many people don’t have a landline telephone anymore nor a radio and most are starting to consume entertainment over the internet a combo of Hulu and Netflix maybe enough for some

01:18:10 Google Me – Earlier this week, in a tweet he has since deleted, Digg CEO Kevin Rose indicated that Google was building a direct competitor for Facebook, to be called “Google Me.” Now, a former Facebook executive, Quora founder Adam D’Angelo, has confirmed the rumors, stating confidently that there are a large number of Googlers working on the project presently and that it is an attempt to expand what the company had started to do with its “Buzz” project. According to D’Angelo, Google realized that Buzz is not enough and the only way to take on Facebook will be to create a full Facebook-inspired social network of their own. D’Angelo says Google had assumed Facebook’s growth would slow, but now they are scared at the rate with which it has continued to expand.

Do you think Google will be able to chip away at Facbeook’s more than 500 million current members? How should they counter-position themselves? Is this doomed to the same fate as Google Wave and Orkut, side projects that never really took off as Google continued to focus on its core search and advertising business? No they will be able to compete but they need one portal and to finish a product completely not just an 80% complete

01:21:00 Verizon iPhone? – Breaking news today, as Bloomberg is citing two anonymous sources who say that an iPhone for Verizon Wireless will be available beginning in January. It has been theorized that the “leaked” announcement may be a tactic by Verizon, encouraging people to wait a few more months before buying an iPhone 4 and renewing their AT&T contracts for 2 more years.

Obviously, this is great news for Verizon, which will get its hands on one of the hottest phones in history, and bad news for AT&T. Do you think this will impact the Android platform, which has been the dominant smartphone platform for Verizon? If I can get better service on my iPhone, doesn’t that take away one of the biggest arguments for switching to Android? The network is iPhone’s only weakness, the iPhone has basically become a computer

01:25:45 Ad.ly Expands to Twitter Aps – So, Ad.ly launched last year as an in-stream advertising network for Twitter accounts, and sort of had their business plan interrupted last month, when Twitter announced a new policy prohibiting in-stream ads. (At the time, Ad.ly argued that it did not violate Twitter’s TOS, because their ads are not technically served within the Twitter stream or timeline, but it’s unclear if Twitter agrees or disagrees with this stance). The company has continued to expand into new markets, first with an announcement that they would insert ads into MySpace streams and now with an ad network for third-party developers, allowing clients to serve ads to users within Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn applications. The new product, called Ad.ly for Apps, launched today and allows developers to use an API to serve contextually and locally targeted ads to app users based on their streams. Founder Sean Rad is calling it “AdSense for the Stream.”

Think Ad.ly can surviva Twitter’s crack-down on in-stream advertising? Is the solution to start expanding to other services beyond Twitter, or is Twitter integral to the success of a service like Ad.ly? Full disclosure Jason invests in Tweetup something similar, Jason has never been a fan of building purely on someone else’s platform

01:37:00 Friendly Music – Music licensing company Rumblefish has announced a new online store, “Friendly Music,” which enables YouTube users to buy a lifetime, worldwide music license for selected tracks for $1.99 a pop. Currently the catalog contains 35,000 copyright-cleared songs, with new ones being added daily. One interesting side note…The service ONLY applies for user-generated, non-commercial, non-professional videos. if you’re a YouTube partner, meaning you get paid for adjacent or embedded advertising on YouTube, you need to negotiate an additional fee.

What do you think of this service? Does it have legs if it’s only available for people who aren’t making their videos for a profit? No the music industry is a mess they should allow a revenue sharing model where they approve use but they will never learn.

01:44:00 Peace and Love, Peace and Love

01:45:00 END

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