Saturday, August 30, 2008

Aloha, Nelso!

According to a report by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. cities most often visited1 by European travelers are as follows:
  1. New York City
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Miami
  4. Orlando (home of DisneyWorld)
  5. San Francisco
  6. Honolulu
  7. Las Vegas
  8. Washington, DC
  9. Chicago
  10. Boston
  11. Atlanta
  12. San Diego

Nothing too surprising here - If I'd had to guess the top destinations in the U.S. for Europeans, I would have made a very similar list (well, I wouldn't have guessed Atlanta was in the top 15). I'm also not surprised that my home town of Minneapolis didn't make the list; I don't think it would appeal to a first or second-time visitor to the U.S. Too much else to see.

As I mentioned in my interview with Euro magazine2, Nelso has been looking at the United States as part of its expansion plans (especially now with the U.S. dollar at record lows), and in the process of covering businesses in the U.S, we need to construct a roll-out plan.

So, should we just take the list above and start working from #1 to #10? Or should we focus more on locals (U.S. residents), and cover the U.S. according to the population of the cities? Here's the list of the largest U.S. cities:
  1. New York City
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Chicago
  4. Houston, Texas
  5. Phoenix, Arizona
  6. Philadelphia
  7. San Antonio, Texas
  8. San Diego
  9. Dallas, Texas
  10. San Jose, California
  11. Detroit, Michigan
  12. Jacksonville, Florida

This is quite a different list. Although the usual suspects (NYC, Chicago, and LA) appear on both lists, many top tourist destinations like Orlando (#83 by population) and Boston (#23) are not even in the top 20.

I think it makes sense to use the first list (top tourist destinations for Europeans), rather than simply ranking the cities by population. This will allow Nelso to take advantage of its localization expertise (e.g. helping Czechs find businesses in "Honolulu, Havaj"). Additionally, many of the top tourist spots are warm-weather/beach destinations, which will allow us to continue primary photography even in the winter months when it'd be too cold to do much in Copenhagen or Hamburg.

Thus, the title of this post. Don't know if I can swing it, but maybe I'll take on the task of primary photography for Honolulu myself, which should take at least four weeks in, for example, January 2009. Honolulu is the #6 tourist destination for Europeans, and is the highest-ranked city in the U.S. for quality of life. That, and I really need a vacation. I haven't been to the beach in almost 15 years.

1 Data is from 2003, but I don't think the relative rankings will have changed much in the last five years.
2 The original Euro magazine interview with is here. However, it's behind a paywall, so not much use for anyone that's not a subscriber to Euro magazine.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Nikon announces Coolpix P6000 with built-in GPS

I'm surprised it took this long, but Nikon has finally announced a compact camera with built-in GPS, theCoolpix P6000. As far as I know, this is the first high-quality camera from Nikon or Canon that has built in GPS, a feature that has been available on cameraphones for at least two years.

Having cameras with built-in GPS would definitely make the data-gathering process easier for Nelso, and would allow us to ditch our current system of Nikon D40s combined with Garmin 60Csx GPS receivers. However, the question that needs answering is: how accurate will the GPS be in these cameras? We need consistent accuracy better than 8 meters (26 feet) to be usable for mapping a city like Paris where businesses are very close to each other. I'm skeptical that this new Nikon will be able to accomplish this, except under ideal conditions.

We've already got our pre-order in for a P6000 at Amazon. We'll do some tests of the accuracy and post the results here once we get our hands on one of these cameras.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Berlin will soon have nearly as many Starbucks as the whole of Australia

Starbucks has announced that it will close 61 underperforming stores in Australia. As there were only 84 Starbucks locations in Australia before the closures, Australia will be left with 23 stores total. This is approximately one Starbucks location per 1,000,000 people, which must be one of the lowest ratios in any market in which Starbucks operates.

Berlin, Germany, with 3.4 million inhabitants, has 17 Starbucks locations - five times the density per inhabitant of Australia. It is especially ironic that Starbucks would be more popular in European cities than in Australia, considering this quote from Australia's The Age newspaper:
Management expert Professor John Roberts said Starbucks clashed with a culture heavily influenced by stronger brews brought in by European immigrants.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Nelso gets its first "mainstream" media mention

Although Nelso has been mentioned on a number of high-profile websites (e.g. TechCrunch, BuzzMag,,, Gridskipper, etc.), we've never been featured in "traditional" media before today.

Euro Magazine ran a two-page article about in this week's issue (link to article), and it's very positive on the company's prospects. While it's true that a front-page story on would bring in more traffic that a write-up in a magazine, an old man like me still likes to see an article published on paper.