Welcome Aboard Rocketboom Anchor Caitlin Hill

Thank you Caitlin!!!


Ban on Comic Sans

There is an interesting article today on Comic Sans, the typically unlovely font that you have no doubt seen before. People are pulling together to ban it. There are flickr pools, T-shirts, myspace groups (do people still use myspace?) and petitions.

We recently caught the famous font designer Vincent Connare on tape at this year’s NYC ROFLcon:



Today I am so sad to say farewell to Joanne from Rocketboom! Joanne was really, really excellent at what she did here, she will be missed. Keep your eyes open for announcements from Joanne on what’s next for her! And stay tuned for more from Rocketboom…


Intel & Rocketboom Team up for ‘Rocketboom Tech’

I just wrote about our Know Your Meme series and how the show has worked as a spin-off. It took a long time for the branch off to happen.

Another obvious branch that we have been thinking about for a long time is “Rocketboom Tech”. The Rocketboom news is filled with tech-related stories and a large portion of our audience is tech minded.

When we were speaking with Intel about some of their objectives and some of our objectives, we realized that we had a lot in common and decided to launch Rocketboom Tech, with their help.

We set this up in a way where our objective at Rocketboom is met with the extra resources and support to get the show up and running, and both of our objectives are met through a collaboration to get people aware of and interested in new technologies while also learning ourselves from the experience. Intel is creating a massive amount of media already (Intel pressroom is www.intel.com/pressroom and Intel YouTube is www.youtube.com/channelintel ) so understanding the Rocketboom process is just one of many branches they can add to their growing tree of knowledge.

In terms of the content, we have invited a member of the Intel team to join our creative team, to help come up with ideas for stories to cover. Intel processors and the impact of its vast research and investments are helping bring new technologies to people all over the world, but people inside the company also love using new technologies too.  And like Rocketboom, Intel is fascinated in how people are using technologies in interesting or peculiar ways, rather than just “speed and feeds” of technologies.

We are certainly not just going to talk about intel stuff.  On the contrary, we’re focusing resources and brain power on finding interesting stories about innovation and how people are using technology in interesting ways. The best story idea each week wins and becomes a segment. In fact, nevertheless, Rocketboom remains in complete control of the editorial and decides what we will do for each episode.

The entire production process is experimental, and we hope the results help Rocektboom and Intel learn from each other while creating segments that are interesting, useful, insightful and inspiring to anyone who enjoys using tech in their daily lives.

With Ellie at the helm of this project, I have no doubt we’ll be in good shape here. Ellie has been at Rocketboom for over three years now and she’s seen it all. She is also starring in our Know Your Meme series, which is currently our most talked about production. With regards to the comments and feedback we have received on the first several episodes of Rocketboom Tech, everything is going even better than hoped.

Here are a few extra points about the relationship between Rocketboom & Intel which I think are noteworthy:


Intel is not interested in simply sponsoring or running advertisements on Rocketboom. They are exploring new media themselves and with every relationship, appear to be keeping fresh and on top of the pulse of what is going on. With us in particular, they wanted to get to the bottom of how we tick, it seems, so they they can use the experience, storytelling and production insights to improve their own online media creation and bring more meaning to news and future product releases.  As you may know we are always interested in exposing our workflows & methods with the hope that we help others to embrace the media.


Rocketboom, Intel and Sony Pictures were all involved in the deal, which means there were also three sets of lawyers involved so you can imagine what it might of taken to get a project like this off the ground. Yet amazingly, everyone was willing to just say ok and it all just happened. Just like that. This was an unprecedented experience that shows how some of the biggest of bureaucracies can rise to the occasion to create something that is contemporary and progressive.  This is a good example of smart risk-taking.


We are not just getting a cash deal here, we are learning a great deal from intel as well. They also have a *huge* audience already, spread out all over the world and they are sending people our way, too.  When they post our videos on their Intel pages, or twitter about us, there is an important impact we see from it. You usually expect this exposure to be a one way thing but in this case, its a reciprocal coevolution.  I think this is a good example of smart collaboration.

*update: Thanks to Liz at Newteevee and Andy at Beet.TV for posting about this!

Rocketboom Tech episodes on Rocketboom: http://www.rocketboom.com/category/tech/

Rocketboom Tech on Twitter (new) is http://www.twitter.com/RocketboomTech

Intel consumer blog Inside Scoop is http://scoop.intel.com

Intel on Twitter is http://www.twitter.com/intel


Proof that the medium is the message


Rocketboom Nominated For Webby Award!

Rocketboom was nominated for a Webby! Rocketboom has been nominated by the Webby’s in the past, as well as for the Vloggies and the Streamy’s. This is a bitter sweet recognition; I relate a lot to Woody Allen on this kind of a thing because we are not in it to compete. We are driven and love what we do but nevertheless this kind of acknowledgment feels great. So Thank you!

Congrats also to BoingBoing TV, Epic-Fu, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and The Best Short Films In The World.


10 Entrepreneurial Concepts to Live By

This is a post I created awhile back which outlines ten major concepts I live and work by. This may seem pedestrian to some though I think it’s a good foundation for conducting entrepreneurial business activity on the internet:

1. Always work with people who are better than you. You can only do a few things really well. One of them should be understanding your weaknesses and looking for the best possible help to fill the gaps. Seek help to manage MOST of everything else it takes to run a successful business. Hire people who will do a better job than you.

2. Treat everyone with the highest regards and pay the people who work for you greater than their value. While most people do not want to be leaders, most people want to feel good about themselves and be fulfilled. If people are paid better than normal, have good benefits and get a lot of appraisal and bonuses, they will be happier in life and in return will likely be more productive too. The smallest gestures, even for a poor company such as adding a bit more onto a pay check (giving surprise bonuses), paying for a cab – paying for lunch, all go a really long way. The greatest implementation of value for people is to have positions that allow for infinite growth. Nobody that works for you should ever have a fixed ceiling of opportunity. Consider cutting back on material expenses and pay more for people. Aspire for everyone to have a greater life-style. No matter how important your business is, this is life we are talking about and it’s short. While being caught up with speed towards the future, remember others who live for the day.

3. Do everything right and fair. Make sure that you are always honorable, especially with yourself. Live up to your oral agreements. When it comes to operating your business, make sure and set it up correctly – pay every cent of tax that you legally owe. As long as you take the extra effort to do things right, you will eliminate a huge amount of stress. Even knowing yourself that you are keeping everything in order will make you feel better about yourself on a day-to-day basis. The people that work for you will also take you more seriously and also feel better themselves.

4. Learn to love consequence and happenstance. Things will happen all the time that will throw off your plans. Turn the stress around and into a challenge. Use the opportunity to think of new opportunities. Perhaps there are many new paths to take that you would like even more. Consequence is the stuff that artists dream of; It’s what creates new technologies and drives innovation.

5. Be transparent. This is almost cliche now, though this is why it is important and should not be missed: Without disregard for being humble, the more you reveal, the more people will understand where you are coming from. It’s not about blurting out some statement suddenly. It takes time to show yourself, who you really are. This motto applies to most aspects of life and business. The idea behind transparency is much more of a human personality trait. It’s for you yourself and the people that you care about; It’s for the audience that want to know when they ask; It gets to be that you no longer even think of this idea, it just becomes a part of your lifestyle. When you are fair, transparency will occur naturally because you will be proud and secure to reveal your true thinking.

6. Create a comfortable environment. A girl friend once told me about a miserable phase she went though when she and one of her girl friends were living in a basement with no windows, lots of dogs, mildew, low ceilings, old carpet, low lighting, etc. It sounded dreary to say the least. She wasn’t aware of the concept of space enough to understand that it was drastically effecting her mood. When she moved into a more comfortable apartment that was full of light and had higher ceilings, she regained her spirit. Having a great work environment is just the same. And websites are like spaces too. When you create your physical space or your space online, consider making it comfortable as possible.

7. Listen to your audience, friends and advisors. The more you can get feedback and audience participation, the more you will understand the positive and negative effects of your efforts. The more you understand the effects you are having, the more you can understand what to do in the future. If you trust yourself to filter the ideas and information that others give you, be quiet and listen more often. Allow the audience/journalists/experts in your field to describe your activity for you.

8. Have spirit!

9. Time is of the essence. It starts with the age-old model of speed that can be applied to everything in life. In a war, for instance, the side that obtains the information first about where the other side is will have the advantage; The investor who knows the news first will have the stock advantage. The technologist who creates the first this-or-that will have that advantage to begin with. Speed=Potential. If you have something new, take action before it becomes old.

10. Stay in control by giving control away. The more you give up control to others, the happier everyone will be. Not only will the people who work for you be happier, it will allow you more time to focus on the things you do best.


Know Your Meme Spin-Off

I’ve been talking a lot recently about how Rocketboom is growing in a way that is different then the shows around us. You may have heard me say, some of our colleagues have leveraged the popularity of their shows to gain investment to build a network of many shows, so on and so forth, and you may have heard me point out that there are almost no examples of a “second” show doing as well as the first.

If we came out one day and said, here is Rocketboom’s second effort, it would be a scary day. If there was a new show that appealed to a new audience, obviously our current audience might not be into it and thus it would be hard to grow from scratch, especially if our current audience was, ahem, critical. In our particular case, I tend to feel there is this extra expectation for Rocketboom to innovate technically, as if we were putting out a new invention.

The regular audience that we have is not watching because they expect innovation, however. They say they enjoy the creative style of the content. The feedback we get matches our unwavering mission to provide entertaining information from the internet. Quite frankly, I still feel like Rocketboom is not as good as it can be. Maybe thats a good thing, I hope I never become content with it. So with that in mind, while we continue to grow the quality of the show, we are allowing our content to spin itself-off, when it happens naturally.

From an earlier related post:

Anyone remember who lived next door to Archie Bunker in All in the Family? Yep, The Jefferson’s which went on to became it’s own show. An even better example stems from Stephen Colbert, the once rare correspondent of the “The Daily Show”. The audience loved him so much, the show kept bringing him back and by the time they were ready to branch off with a new show, The Colbert Show, they had a formula, a system, the brain trust, support systems, tested pilots and especially the audience all in place and on stand by to nearly guarantee the success of the show. As it relates to Rocketboom, we realized this last year consequently with our Know Your Meme series. Over the winter holidays, in order to give ourselves a break, we decided we would prerecord an entire week of Know Your Meme episodes and run them back-to-back, breaking down the memes and viral videos of the year. By surprise, our audience went nuts and the episodes became some of our most popular content ever. Since we loved the series too, we decided we would spend the year developing the show and continue to sprinkle episodes into Rocketboom as test runs and pilots while building up the idea with our audience.

Our Know Your Meme series has officially spun off and the work has become bigger than Rocketboom. That is to say, Know Your Meme now has it’s own destination at www.knowyourmeme.com, there are consistently more views per video, more chatter on Twitter, Facebook and other destinations around the net, and in general, much more participation.

The memes are being covered in other places, in other ways, but the Know Your Meme database has naturally evolved out of the character of the show itself. In just a couple of months, the database has accounted for over 100 memes and over 1000 images.

The idea for the community site started out of a need for a simple forum, but the use patterns demanded more and the site quickly grew into a community where people can sign up to become members and actually create entries themselves. People are also enriching the entries by adding additional information via comments, images and videos.

This is not sad but great for Rocketboom! We love Rocketboom just as much and many people love it even more. And Know Your Meme is still a part of, and distributed through Rocketboom. Obviously the content that Know Your Meme covers is much more popular (i.e. the most popular memes), yet it’s difficult to compare when it come to actual value.

What’s great here is that our “second” show has arrived and it’s working!

While everything is evolving naturally and consequently, behind the scenes, the vision is being led by the Rocketboom team. Kenyatta is writing and overseeing the production of the whole Know Your Meme series; Chris, our assistant Rocketboom writer is researching, writing and populating a great deal of the database; Ellie is staring in, and contributing to all areas of production, while Jamie is staring in and leading the vision and development for the KYM database, built entirely from scratch. Greg our full time interface designer/programmer is working the front end and of course our final cut editors are bringing the episodes to life with extra flair and fancy.

Today, we kick off a special week of Know Your Meme episodes *everyday* and will then return to our regular weekly release, next week. Next week we’ll also be kicking the Rocketboom news into high gear, w00t!

Know Your Meme video view counts on Vimeo:

Know Your Meme video view counts on YouTube: