March 2011

First it was the cold that I picked up while in Austin for SXSW.  Then it was my iPhone that got corrupted during a software update that wiped out the marathon playlist that I had built over the past few months including 100 motivational songs, and of course, there was my shin splint in my left leg, and something that could be either serious or minor in my right knee that I’m supposed to have MRI’ed(haven’t done it yet).  But that wasn’t going to stop me.  No, no.  I set my alarm for 3:50am, Dominic had room service deliver coffee at 4am, and I was off on the shuttle bus at the start line at 5:30am determined to finish and do my very best.

The weather forecast called for heavy rain on marathon Sunday, but as runners huddled in Dodger Stadium, only a light shower passed by before the horn went off at 7:44am to start the race.  As we entered ChinaTown, full of adrenelin and enthusiasm, the first rains started to fall.  Ahh, this feels good!  Nice and refreshing!  The rains stopped, then started, then, Noah decided to show up with his ark as I saw him float by in the roads that became rivers in LA.  Holy floodzone, Batman!  Runners stretched out their arms in submission to the rain gods that soaked us to the core over and over again.  Then the winds showed up, bringing down the mile markers throughout the course so you didn’t know how far you’d run.

Although us runners felt a bit sorry for ourselves, looking like drowned rats scrambling for dry land, I really felt sorry for the volunteers who struggled with inside-out umbrellas as they stretched out their arm to offer us water, Gatorade, slices of oranges, bananas, Clif bars, and even Yakult!  They were soaked and shivering, but were intrepid as they stood their ground to make sure we were supported.

I never realized that cold, wet, weather brings on cramps and hypothermia so quickly.  At one point, I reached over to turn down my music so I could hear the crowds better and I was immediately struck by a massive cramp down my right side.  I struggled with that cramp while another developed in my right shoulder.  As I was happily enjoying a downhill section of the race around mile 24 or so, I was fighting several cramps in my thighs and shins.  Geez!  I’ve never had so many cramps at one time in my life.  I kept telling myself to relax and just take it easy.  They would subside, but if I tried to accelerate, they’d come back again, so I just kept my pace slow and steady.

A very welcome surprise was the face of Joon appearing around mile 20.  The last 6 miles were really hard for me, so having her cheer me on and run with me gave me an energy boost that left a smile on my face!

On Ocean Avenue, the home stretch, I could see the finish line in the distance, but I had to get through the driving race that stung my eyes and cheeks.  Street blockades slid across the road with the force of the wind, almost clipping a few runners in front of me.  Most spectators didn’t have umbrellas by then – why even try when Mother Nature was going to win anyway.

Crossing the finish line, I looked over and saw Dominic, Robert and Min cheering me on!  As they took a picture, I tried to pose which caused my left butt cheek to cramp.  I’ve never had a cramp there before, but let me tell you, it hurts!

I didn’t earn a PR or a BQ, but I gave it my best and survived brutal weather for 26.2 miles.  And as you can see from this chart, I actually didn’t do so bad!

Thanks to everyone who supported me, my charity – Freedom Is Not Free, and sent me good vibes.  I really needed every ounce of your energy to get through this one!  My muscles are super sore but my heart is happy and full of gratitude.  Thanks again.

This week at SXSW in Austin, Texas, King.com hosted a provocative panel addressing this question and others surrounding the topic of “TV Networks Extending Interactivity for Fans.”

Noah Hawley (@noahhawley), producer and writer behind shows including Bones, The Unusuals, and My Generation, provided insights on creating shows with interactivity baked in from the very beginning.  When fans are given the opportunity to continue experiencing with characters outside of the hour on TV, the show is given the extra support and interactivity needed to nurture a loyal and engaged following.

However, creating these additional touch-points can be expensive, especially when over 90% of all new shows fail on TV.

David Luner of Fremantle Media and Kris Soumas of A&E Television Networks addressed the other side of the argument, noting that shows are already expensive to produce, and advertising dollars are notoriously difficult to share amongst new vehicles such as interactive.  However, with that being said, David’s team at Fremantle is a shining example of how to successfully extend interactivity around a show, as exemplified in the smash hit American Idol.  In addition, David provided examples of how digital marketing was also successfully applied to other game shows, such as Family Feud.  Kris also noted that both social games and the mobile platform are increasingly important in the mix of a successful show, noting the tactics used by Parking Wars.

Owais Farooqui of King.com provided an example of how to monetize games that consumers often expect to be free.  Rovio’s Angry Birds, which recently received $42 million in Series A funding from Atomico, Accel and Felicas Ventures, actually makes more money on the free version of Angry Birds than the paid version because of advertising revenues and in-app purchases.  Owais also talked of the impact of cross-promotion of online properties and the TV show to cross-pollinate the user base and provide uplift of traffic for both properties.

The discussion clearly picqued the interest of the audience as the line-up for questions exceeded the time left in the session.  Moderator, Brad Stone of BusinessWeek/Bloomberg quipped that the panel was being Tweeted in several different languages as he watched the hashtag #GamesForTV appear on many Tweets during the session.

The conclusion of the panel is that transmedia strategies including social games and mobile experiences are increasingly critical in ensuring the ongoing success of TV properties, and need to be considered as part of the total brand so that the interactive component does not look “tacked on.”

Cooliris is sponsoring this year’s must-go party at SXSW, the Tech Cocktail Kickoff on Sunday, March 13th.  I’m looking forward to kicking up my heels in Austin!

Don’t forget to download the LiveShare by Cooliris app.  If you do and show it at the event, you may win prizes throughout the night and will have access to all the fabulous photos from the party.