Interview with Tim Westergren of Pandora

April 27, 2006

May 4th will be a exciting day for me, as I am allowed to interview Tim Westergren, one of the founders of Pandora and now also Chief Strategy Officer. From the Pandora site: "A musician's musician, Tim Westergren is obsessed with helping talented emerging artists connect with the music fans most likely to appreciate their music. He founded Pandora and now serves as its Chief Strategy Officer. "
With this extra interview I probably get more input for my research, and enabled me to compare interpretations of Matt Nichols, who I will have an interview with the same day. I will try to find more people who I can have an interview with, it only can benefit my research.

At this point I'm preparing for the interviews. The book InterViews (Kvale, 1996) is helping me with the preparation, a very good book.

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Interview with Matt Nichols of Pandora

April 20, 2006

I am pleased to announce that I just made my second appointment for an interview, this time with Matt Nichols of Pandora. He agreed on having a conversation, it will also take place on May 4th 2006, just like the interview with Martin Stiksel of Last.fm. Time for me to go on with the construction of the interview questions. 

I think Pandora and Last.fm are quite similar in their online digital product, despite they use different classification methods. The difference lies in collaborative filtering which is being used at Last.fm, opposed to the content recommendation system which is being used at Pandora. Steve Krause did a nice comparison between the two.

I hope to have the opportunity to have some additional interviews, but with these two I sure can complete my research. 


Interview with Martin Stiksel of Last.fm

April 12, 2006

As of today I can say that my first appointment for an interview is truly made! Martin Stiksel of Last.fm will be the person who I am going to interview. As one of the founders he is a perfect subject for the interview. That means I can start with the case study preparations, and in particular with constructing my interview. Because the Last.fm office is located in London, I suggested to come over to Londen (from Amsterdam), but this is not happening. Instead I will have a Skype conversation. But I am thrilled that the interview can take place. For the record, the interview is scheduled for the 4th of May 2006.


Wild brainstorm on digital customization

April 6, 2006

On every blog, the author tells a story on a particular subject which is of his interest at the moment. During my research, this is also the case, for example this evening. This evening I was reading some articles on mass customization (Da Silveira et al., 2001; Franke and Piller, 2003). I read about levels of mass customization and success factors. As usual literature on mass customization addresses mainly physical products. Again I’m really stunned on the lack of research on customization for pure digital products. According to literature, the highest level of customization can be established during design of a product. For digital products, this should be not a problem because they have the physical characteristic of being transmutable, and therefore are extremely customizable (Choi et al., 1997). Then the success factors for mass customization which are stated in literature. These factors according to Da Silveira et al. (2001) are:

  • customer demand for variety and customization must exist
  • market conditions must be appropriate
  • value chain should be ready
  • technology must be available
  • products should be customizable
  • knowledge must be shared

Without illustrating every factor, it is clear that all these factors can apply for digital products on the Internet. Why is this not been addressed in literature so far, or why am I not aware of their existence? I have to admit, current research is moving in this direction by comparing services to goods. As for digital goods, services are also intangible. Da Silveira et al. (2001) made a comparison. Compared to manufactured goods, services:

  • are more labor-intensive
  • have greater customer involvement
  • are more sensitive to quality errors
  • have tighter delivery times
  • are unable to rely on inventories to adjust to demand fluctuations
  • are more dependent on information reliability

Again I think pure digital products are perfect for mass customization, because these differences address the success factors even better. Well, it makes my research even more interesting for myself, and I hope for some other people also. So far this wild brainstorm, back to work now.


Discover new music or movies with Liveplasma

April 5, 2006

Liveplasma is a great service that visualizes music or movies based on a given band, movie, director or actor. This is the visualization I got when entering 'Matrix' and searched for similar movies:

Matrix

A nice way to customize and get recommendations by means of personalization. Personalization can support mass customization to get better fitting goods at low (transaction) costs (Piller, 2003). It even works without personal information, but that leaves personal recommendations out. I'll try it out for some time!


Download-only track hits number one

April 3, 2006

"Gnarls Barkley track Crazy has become the first song to top the hit parade without a record being sold. The duo's melting pot brand of paranoid soul-pop hip-hop dance-slop shifted 31,000 legal downloads last week, and was crowned top of the pops by the Official UK Chart Company on Sunday. The CD hits shops today."

Source: The Register.

Another example of pure online content because the product is digital, the process is online and the content is unbundled (Loebbecke, 1999).