Neil Young is right — piracy is the new radio

Neil Young put a lot of the media industry’s hysteria about file-sharing into perspective when he said in a recent interview that “piracy is the new radio — that’s how music gets around.” In fact, a certain amount of “piracy” can be good for business.

Apps Need Great Experiences, Not Tech

It’s tough for developers to standout in the apps market. What’s even tougher? Trying to build a scalable business based on the apps. Neil Young, co-founder and CEO of ngmoco, a mobile gaming company, knows it all too well, and shares his insights in an interview.

What ngmoco, Intel and a Donkey Have In Common

As the fable goes, when faced with the prospect of being buried alive, donkey finds a way to inch its way out of the well. That is a good lesson for companies big and small. Neil Young, CEO of ngmoco reminded me why.

Not Good for the Plug-In Market: Neil Young’s LincVolt Fire

Just what the nascent plug-in vehicle market needs: A rockstar’s plug-in car catches on fire. Neil Young’s famous LincVolt plug-in car — a 1959 Lincoln Continental converted to electric — caught on fire after what looks to be an untested bit of the charging infrastructure sparked.

Why ngmoco’s CEO Is Bullish on the iPad

NeilYoung.gifApple’s (s aapl) iPad, which is soon going to find its way onto the market, has drawn criticism and scorn from many a technorati. But Neil Young, chief executive and co-founder of San Francisco-based mobile gaming startup ngmoco, isn’t one of them. Not only does he think that the iPad will make netbooks pointless, he believes it will usher in new opportunities for companies such as his to build new experiences.

“Most negative reviews are from people who I think who were expecting a fundamental new technology, not a new user experience,” he said in a conversation with me. “I remember the same type of commentary around when the iPod touch launched.” Of course, as we all know Apple has since sold many millions of those iPod touches.

Young, who just closed a $25 million round of financing from Institutional Venture Partners and previous investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Norwest Venture Partners and Maples Investments, believes that a big portion of the mass market of buyers are going to find the iPad “magical.”

“The iPad is going to occupy a different part of a user’s life — it will be at the intersection of your home laptop and netbook and personal game console,” he said. Unlike most, who are going to rebuild their apps for the larger screen resolution, ngmoco has devised a three-step strategy for targeting the iPad:

* Adapt six of its major titles to iPad specifications and have them available for download alongside the device’s launch.
* Enhance its games to take advantage of the large screen real estate and also augment them with other iPad-specific features.
* Once iPad has scale or shows a trajectory of scale, build new applications specifically for that platform.

Young isn’t the only CEO of an iPhone games company who is thinking differently. William Volk, CEO of San Diego-based PlayScreen, explained to me that the iPad represented an opportunity to create a whole new kind of game. In a recent blog post Volk wrote,”The big screen and connectivity makes it a natural for social and team gaming. Think of board games, MMORPG’s and card playing.”

Like Volk and Young, I am very excited about the iPad, and am wondering what different types of apps can be developed for this new platform.

If you want to talk to me about these new experiences, apps or the iPad, drop me an email, connect with me on Twitter or simply leave a comment.

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