Mark Slater’s Weblog

Musings about work, life, and all things in between

Concave wins its biggest award yet

Very exciting news this morning as we were notified that we won 2 significant awards from a consumer voted poll.

We won “best boot of 2009” for our PT+ version – beating out both addidas and Puma, and we won “most innovative product of the year” again beating some very big players.

This is very significant for a company our sizing attempting to do what we are doing. The bottom line is this – the incumbents that own 70% of this market have been lumbering along for many a year, pimping gimmicks as real and authentic technological improvements to the boot. If its not colorways, its materials, or “new” leathers and so on. None and i mean None of this truly make any quantifiable difference to a player. i would like for every claimant to go through independent testing on such things as “swerve” or “grip” – these things would not survive any type of rigorous analysis. Certainly not as compared to what is being claimed in their “marketingspeak”.

So while these guys are immersed in doing just enough to “dupe” the consumer in to thinking that they are receiving some tangible benefit to the “new” version – we are solely focused on deploying out technology as a point of difference that will tangibly and measurably improve a players performance. See because we are in the technology business before we are in branding business – our technology MUST work for our brand to succeed.

That focus is in our DNA and its beginning to get recognized worldwide. these are of course my personal opinions and not necessarily shared by my colleague at the company!

Filed under: Football

why apple is flawed (reason 1)

i cant transfer a song list (set of songs i bought in itunes) from itunes to my phone.

i bought this music.

the biggest most enormous and massive F***k you apple.

lesson to apple – be open, the rest will follow. that or read umair haque because he has pretty much outlined and predicted your demise.

my generation is open. you design an amazing device and then you totally and utterly fuk up the consumer relationship.

(call) no one is available to help me (customer service) – i guess i paid for my music and you own it now right?

lame

Filed under: Uncategorized

Umair Haque’s post on the future of media

i have been a keen reader of Umair’s for 5 years now. I have a mostly silent obsession with the disintermediation of existing business constucts – and how the web (mainly) is exploding them (think music and media – next up TV and movies).

this guy never fails to capture the essence of these shifts and these battles brilliantly. if you have an interest in this subject i highly reccomend following him

his article on google

Filed under: Uncategorized

John O’shea agrees to a multi-year endorsement deal with Concave

Well – i am limited by corporate policy on what i can say regarding my business activities and Concave but i really cant hide my excitement about this news for us.

For those who know me personally, its been a long two years getting to this point – millions literally millions of miles on planes by the team, in strange places, and in unfathomable situations.

god knows there have been bumps and fights and worry and stress, and no pay, and little pay, and questions on whether we can really do this – all typical in any start up. Today is one of those rare days in a start-up when one can exhale and be slightly proud of what we have done. have we made mistakes? absolutely. Have we ‘cracked it’? not by a country mile…..but does this spur us on to keep swinging – no doubt!

now if John could just put Ireland through with a winner at the death from 30 yards…..

http://www.ransacker.co.uk/2009/11/13/football-boot-news-john-oshea-signs-with-concave/

Filed under: branding, Football

Ad.ly – spamming microformats?

I have been having a back and fourth with several readers over at a VC’s website as this particular VC was shingling his new investment. this particular company as far as i can see – inserts micro messages or ads in to someones micro format so that the followers receive a product reccomendation or endorsement from a ‘valid’ source. here is what they say they do

Ad.ly enables Twitter publishers to make money from the content they produce on Twitter by sending one Tweet every day from advertisers that they approve. In order to ensure authenticity, every Ad.ly Tweet is explicitly approved by the Twitter publisher. The publishers are able to set the price they want advertisers to pay and can optionally donate part or all of their earnings to charity.

this is a horrible model.

its taking old world rules and applying them to a new world way of communicating. all you need to do is read a little of this guy and you will understand how un-awsome this business really is.

its a strategic error to build a business based on yesterdays rules being applied to todays innovations. And its companies like this that could drag twitter down the spam drain if its not careful.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Commented on “Both Sides of the Table”

so why then not build against the consumers explicit action? after all this is where we are headed from a control point of view. If the hypotheses is to push (whether authentic, transparent or not) its an action that has not been explicitly asked for and therefore will logically be made redundant as control continues to crash towards the consumer.

your third paragraph i completely disagree with. being exposed to the ads will be triggered by an action – it wont and cant be any other way down the road. I am not following the user so that he she or it can stream me ads – thats fake authenticity – thats like saying – you know me and we are friends so here is an ad for a bagel place.

I’ll tell you whats authentic (and this is what we have built)
I text in an implicit command to my “butler” – the service then notifies relevant merchants of my ‘intent’ VIA text) and other pieces of meta associated with my profile or my social exhaust – and some type of marketing interaction results.

i get to build a great virtual real time butler, the merchant gets to take action on hot leads instantly and cost effectively.

Originally posted as a comment
by markslater
on Both Sides of the Table using DISQUS.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Commented on “Both Sides of the Table”

i find this very confusing.

Firstly – congrats on the overture investment i did not realize you were in that deal.

Secondly – and something i ponder often – why this continued acceptance of push? Authenticity aside, i struggle to come to terms with a world that continues to accept being pushed at. Why cant it be as simple as – i make a small social or commerce gesture – lets say “sweater” to XXXXX. – that is an implicit and open gesture that sais – i am thinking bout buying a sweater for the fall – i am open for business” this gestures authenticates a marketing action on the other side by a merchant.

I have told the market that i am “in the market” – and am ready and willing to be messaged – but this is “pulling an ad” not having one pushed at you.

I personally despise ads. But i equally want to be marketed to when i am decide. See the power of a command Line interface, in to my world from my phone (SMS) can do all this for me – applications and platforms can form this market – it can all happen in real time and i can generate a sociual exhaust that can be networked and gamed amongst my friends.

A merchant has a phone too – and can be notified of potential business – in real time and can prospect that business – in real-time. Find me a restaurant that would not want to put asses in seats on a slow night and be able to do it right from the phone in real-time. Hell find me a small business that would not want to use a light weighted texting micro market – they cant afford a billboard or a magazine ad?

See advertizing as we know it (to take an Umair phrase) is being exploded and atomized – and that to me – includes the notion of push. Whats more the atomization of this silo – means that tiny pieces of data can yield commerce in a real time and meaningful way for both sides of the transaction.

We are attempting to build against this hypotheses. i hope we succeed as i can then be done with being ‘pushed’ around by advertizers.

Originally posted as a comment
by markslater
on Both Sides of the Table using DISQUS.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Earthquake In Jakarta

mosque in Jakarta
Image by markgslater via Flickr

its been a very busy last 3 months for me and i have not posted (had a baby – stella!)- rather been commenting using DISQUS as a way to stay involved and express my thoughts.

I saw the title to my last post, and thought – well lets try and get going on a new wave of blogging by relating my most recent experience in Jakarta.

As some know – i am involved with a football footwear technology (www.concavesports.com) and we source in asia, so i find myself out there several times a year.

I am waiting in the lobby of the hotel having a quick beer before heading home last week and chatting to a random person in the bar when my beer starts shaking. Suddenly staff begin to appear from different doorways and are shouting “mister mister ..please this way” before i know it we are being escorted out of the front of the hotel while the lobby chandeliers are beginning to sway violently above us…

it was all over in a matter of minutes, and the remainder of the evening was uneventful with little or no damage to the hotel or surrounding area.

i made it back to boston through Dubai and London three days later with a brand new appreciation for the awsomeness of mother nature.

Filed under: Football,

Bombs in Jakarta

News this morning of 2 bombs exploding in hotels in Jakarta is somewhat un-nerving. I have been to JK now about 7 times in the last year. We typically stay at a hotel near the factory in the Karawachi district. These attacks occurred in the sprawling – and i mean sprawling downtown area. My colleague is actually enroute to JK right now – a trip i was supposed to make except that we are expecting our first child.

here is a picture of JK in the morning from my hotel

JK in the morning

i really enjoy visiting Jakarta – Indonesian people are extremely friendly by nature and i rarely feel unsafe. I even sometimes balk at the airport security that is a fixture at the entrance of every hotel. I have got so used to the culture that i’ll often walk outside the gates, and off in to the local market, or shopping mall.

Ofcourse this type of thing will only serve to bullhorn the likes of cheney and others who’d prefer that the american psyche be a biggoted and insular identity. Any one that knows indonesia, or Jakartan will know that this type of thing is simply not in their DNA. This is another example of an entire culture stereotyped by the actions of a very very few.

I’ll be going back – with bells on.

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Filed under: Football

Concave’s New line of boots coming to a town near you

Well its been a long 9 months. January of this year we decided to accelerate our development cycle for the new boot technology and its been a race to get to this point ever since then. As is the case with every start up i have been involved with not – not with out challenges either! Making a high performance athletic shoe – that involves range of motion, torque, strike, comfort, and on and on is no small undertaking. Compress the cycle time and the hurdles increase in size exponentially.

Concave sports PT +

We are now in production on the shoes and hope to have them in our key markets (US and UK) in the month of august along with Germany, Greece, Australia and several others soon after.

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Filed under: Football, ,

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