Friday, November 13, 2009

Digital Divide?

I think I will throw up if I hear one more person mention this so called "Digital Divide".

Digital Divide as defined by Wikipedia:
"The term digital divide refers to the gap between people with effective access to digital and information technology and those with very limited or no access at all... The digital divide may be classified based on gender, income, and race groups"

Black folks have been making excuses for years why we can't achieve and the "Digital Divide" is the newest excuse. Back in the 60s, Black folks had real discrimination, now Black folks are making barriers when none exist.

I used to own rental properties in the worst parts of Detroit. My tenants did not have a lot of money. They did NOT have a computer or internet access, but my African American tenants did have a big screen TV (bigger than mine) with the premium movie channels. The son had the latest $100+ athletic shoes and everybody had mobile phones. They were on the wrong side of the "Digital Divide" by choice. Currently, a netbook computer is less than $200.

In regards to this so called “Digital Divide”, I don't think there are large corporations sitting around conspiring to hold Black people back by limiting access to computers and the internet. The last time I checked, Apple, Microsoft and Comcast accepted Black folks’ money.

In a related situation, I started the Web Academy to help expose the masses to technology. This fall, the City of New York is hosting a computer application development contest. I decided to enter the Web Academy and I solicited my entire network of students, colleagues, friends and family to join my team to build an iPhone application. No experience was required to be on my team. You just needed to sign up.

About 85% of my network is African American, 10% Caucasian and 5% other.

Why is my iPhone development team 20% African American, 40% Asian and 40% Caucasian. I'm willing to work with anyone who is willing to work with me regardless of color or national origin.

So, did the "Digital Divide" keep African Americans from joining my iPhone development team? Is EHAM apart of the man’s global “Digital Divide” conspiracy to keep Black folks down? What do you think about this so called “Digital Divide”?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Down with Newspapers!

So, I just started the Web Academy which is a non profit organization designed to provide FREE web design classes and FREE web design services. The IRS has strict guidelines for educational non profit organizations to acquire a tax exempt status. These guidelines include but are not limited to:
Having a Board of Directors
Directors Annual Meetings
Non-Discrimination Policy
In addition, the IRS requires my educational non-profit organization to place an ad in a newspaper to notify the community about my non-discrimination policy. What is an ad in a newspaper? Oh newspapers, those things made out of paper, which are for reporting current events. Newspapers, those paper things which are out-of-date the moment the ink dries.

My 1st thought was: “I will use an online notification to broadcast my non-discrimination policy”. No, the IRS is strict that my notification must be in a local newspaper. Okay, so I chose the cheapest option. I decided to advertise my non-discrimination policy in my local newspaper called the Hackensack Chronicle. I was appalled to find out that it will cost me $234 to advertise in one addition of that newspaper. This ad will give me only about 17,000 impressions! For those of you who are not familiar with online advertising, I can buy 17,000 impressions online for less than $20.

All of these newspapers need to wake up because (1) most people get their news online for free (2) who would pay 10 times the money for the same reach (3) there isn’t any detailed analytics about who is reading the ads. With online advertising enabled with analytics, I know, age, gender, area code, zip code, city, and overall interests of every person who clicks my ad.

The Solution:
As an avid consumer of information, I would like to have instant access to every newspaper, every magazine and every book ever written in the past 1000 years to current. I am serious. I would be willing to pay $50 per month for this unlimited service. Consumers (like me) would access these works through a wireless "Kindle-like" device. The authors and publishers of these works would be compensated from the monthly subscriptions based on the number of page views of their works. So, if a consumer spends 50% of his page views on The New York Times, 40% on The Wall Street Journal and 10% reading Thomas Freeman's book "The World is Flat", then $25 would be earned by The New York Times, $20 by The Wall Street Journal and $5 by Thomas Freeman. This scenario would be an advertisers dream as ads would be placed in not only magazines and news stories but also the books. The analytics data available on readers would be advertising nirvana. As an example, an advertiser could target specifically women aged 40 and up who live in Boise, Idaho and work in the medical field who love country music. The publishers/authors would be able to charge a premium of this type of ad inventory.

The writing is on the wall. All of these newspapers and magazine need to change their business models or they will quickly be old news like cave drawings and clay tablets. What do you think?