Thursday, March 30, 2006
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
When I first signed up for Second Life my initial reactions were as follows:
1. The registration was way too long and detailed.
2. They want my cell phone number? What are you kidding? Why would I want to give you that?
3. It's a downloadable? No, I don't trust downloadable's anymore. Is Wild Tangent hidden in there like AIM or any of the other scary things that people like to payload in their software these days.
4. This is so UNBELIEVABLY laggy.
I was underwhelmed until I caught up with Eric at SXSW. After hearing him go on at length about how cool it was I was committed to giving it another try. I also sat in on the Linden Labs panel at SXSW that was interesting but very un-attended from my perspective given the current hype quotient.
After SXSW Eric gave me some guidance, showed me his island, etc. and I began to have the Aha moments that I was missing. I quickly found myself very excited by the potential of what is contained within the platform and structure of Second Life. I think I was/am most impressed by the blending of reality and virtual world. I found myself watching video clips of things that I could easily see on the web but had never bothered to but because it was in Second Life I was glued to it. You could quickly see the inter-relation of RSS, podcasting, videoblogging etc.
Simply put, I am blown away by Second Life. It is an amazing framework for the blending of cyber and real that was contained within Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. It is the Metaverse. There is an amazing kernel of something profound and powerful that clearly has big impact potential. I am not sure that a wandering user will just happen in and get in the groove without the mentorship of a more seasoned user like Eric. But if someone is willing to take the time and come up to speed, it is something that you become a disciple of. I found myself talking excitedly about it to some of the super geeks who work with me/hang out with us.
The down side is that it is a time sink, which is something that I don't have much of currently. Back in my high school days of Dungeon Masterdom, I would have dropped everything and would have become a Second Life addict. Alas that is not in the cards for me. Maybe one of these nights when everyone else is asleep I can start to put the pieces in place to begin building my underwater house. Maybe. I signed up for a year so there will certainly be at the minimum some very fascinated lurking for months to come. It will be interesting to watch it unfold.
Friday, March 24, 2006
Thursday, March 23, 2006
The week before last I received a Plaxo email about John Chaffee that led to this post that was picked up by a number of people, most prominently at first by Om Malik. Being the C-list blogger that I am, I saw an incredible surge in traffic which is illustrated on the graphic on the left. I don't recall the exact number but I think I must have made at least $.50 in Google Ad Words that day.
In addition to pick up by Om, there were links from Moconews and a number of other sites. It really was quite impressive for me to watch given that my normal daily traffic is 50-100 visitors a day.
What I didn't expect was the second spike you see on this chart. Sometime on Monday Brad Fitzpatrick, the founder of Live Journal linked to the post and up went the traffic again. If I were to factor out the extra pick up from Moco and others, Brad stood toe to toe with Om Malik. I personally have to say that this was not really a surprise to me, but when you think about it a bit, it is sort of amazing. These two subgroups of readers have very little overlap from what I can tell but have relatively comparable audiences in terms of size. The difference to me is that Brad's audience is spread throughout the country where Om's is more concentrated in urban areas that have strong technology links.
This all sort of takes me back to a post I wrote here about the lack of mobile coverage by the Web 2.0 press. A lot of my sentiment is less about the fact that mobile is a ghetto because 30+ years olds don't get texting but that the youth market isn't taken seriously by the technology crowd in general.
Fortunately there are some signs of increased awareness of what's going on. Robert Scoble posted this article about the secrets behind Myspace's success after chatting with the CTO of Myspace. Also Danah Boyd continues to churn out insightful pieces regarding the youth market and social networking in pieces like this one from earlier this week.
It seems to me that the awareness of the scope and size of what the "kids" are doing is starting to sink in. I have heard derisive comments about Live Journal and Xanga not being serious blogging but I think what John and Brad have built are extremely amazing and are truly a cultural phenomena not unlike what we hear that is beyond the Myspace hype and in my opinion is as much or more important than how cool the new version of Word Press is.
So Om, nothing personal, but I'd take a Brad link over yours just about any day. :-)
Monday, March 20, 2006
Over the weekend, while crawling through my various feeds and readings I came across a couple of things that brought me back to a topic I have been thinking a lot about. First Debi posted an article about people re-purposing the feeds of other bloggers into their own product without their knowledge. Second I came across these guys who claim that they have integration with Myspace. How did I miss THAT story? :-) Both of these things made me think a bit about how content and information flows from web to mobile, web to web, and mobile to mobile.
I don't have much to say about the issue that Debi raises other than I think that the content creators should have a say in what happens to their content. Enough said. By the way the same goes from record labels and artists. :-)
On the second one I had to check out the Myspace integration to understand what was meant by integration. I signed up. During the registration process I was prompted by the opportunity to sign in with my Myspace account (complete with logo etc.) which I didn’t do, but I am left to assume that this then allows me to import my account profile settings into the new application. Ok, that’s what they meant by integration. When we refer to integration we mean that we have a deal with a company or we use open APIs or some other method. I know that in the past there have been questions regarding the legality of screen scraping and technically it is the least effective way to accomplish what you are trying to do. I would suspect that there are certainly some business issues associated with taking that approach (use of logos, how you represent the relationship with said company, copyright etc.) Frankly it’s not my concern as it is not how we choose to integrate with 3rd parties.
So aside from scraping, what is a company to do if they want to cross the mobile to web or web to web divide? Generally you can use the API’s that are open to developers, like the Blogger API in Google’s case or you have to structure some kind of commercial arrangement with a company. As a company you need to be aware of what the policies are that different companies have with respect to APIs. In general, most of the companies that we interact with don’t allow public access to their APIs. This is a good thing in that there is no ambiguity for the path we have to follow. We have to initiate contact and make a convincing business case for why we should be able to establish a bi-directional relationship with those companies. We usually try to do that by sharing money that our subscribers pay to access our community.
On the open API front, you have to realize that whatever you do from an API perspective, that the other party has disclaimed any support and can do whatever they want with respect to changing their API’s etc. We originally implemented our Live Journal integration using XML-RPC and after a brief conversation migrated our implementation over to Atom. Supporting open APIs is a choice that we hope to enable with Rabble as we move down the road and our APIs become more mature. Making our APIs available to 3rd parties and also allowing people to monetize that integration is something that we think is important in the future of mobile.
The problem category I have observed is when you allow access to API’s but preclude commercial use. The most obvious example of that is Flickr. Flickr will let you mash up, mix, create clients and go crazy for non-commercial purposes. Given what I have seen with Shozu and many other companies, I take non-commercial to mean that they aren’t charging customers. We actually do charge customers. All of our customers pay for Rabble. Because of that we went directly to Flickr and have been trying for many months now to get something in place that ranges from simply letting our users use Rabble to post to Flickr, to actually being one of the drop down options on the Flickr website (you have to ask right?).
I will continue to bug the business development guy at Flickr but I think an important question that should be asked is, what are the plans for the Yahoo API business? I am not aware of any commercial deals with any of their companies with respect to commercial use of their APIs. I hope I am wrong but if I am not, we are witnessing the aggregation of a number of businesses that have been touting the “small pieces loosely joined” concept on the one hand while not really fostering the development of businesses that have revenue on the other. Can anyone point me to some deals that exist? Stewart?
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
It has been a great conference. I promised Jessica that next year we would come to SXSW and make a vacation out of it.
Our panel yesterday was opposite the Craig Newmark keynote but we still managed to get a pretty decent size audience. I really enjoyed meeting my fellow panelists and got to spend some time with Marc Brown from Buzznet. Surprisingly David Snyder from Opera told me that they had moved their US operations to San Diego, which I think is very cool. San Diego is quietly amassing a lot of great companies big and small.
In the early evening I headed up to north Austin to speak at the Mobile Monday meeting of the Austin chapter. There were a lot of presenters all around LBS. I was especially impressed by what the Bones in Motion guys have done/are doing. The highlight for me though was to get to chat at length with the founder of Mobile Monday who's name currently escapes me. I swore I had his business card. We got to chat earlier in the day a bit and then after the meeting I drove him and a guy from Motricity back to the main part of town.
I caught up with Dave and Dave from Eyespot and Damian from Vmix. We went over to the Lifehacker party and hung out for the duration. I spent a lot of time chatting with Eric Rice about Rabble, who, after lampooning me about having a locked down website, downloaded Rabble and had an aha moment I think. I then spent time lampooning Second Life which thus far has completely escaped me but after a pretty long conversation I think I will give it another go. Eric how do I get to your island?
Somewhere out there is a picture of me in a Rabble shirt with a Mexican wrestling mask on. I love Mexican wrestling. Also the Eyespot link has some videos of me. Gulp.
Dave and I then headed off with the guys from That Petrol Emotion to the party where Charlie Sexton was playing. I lasted about 15 minutes before it was time to crash. A good time was had by all.
Monday, March 13, 2006
Sunday, March 12, 2006
Friday, March 10, 2006
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
All the sites where they are coming from happen to be school districts. I wonder if it is some kind of filtering mechanism. Anyone else seeing this?
Monday, March 06, 2006
"My congressman took $2.5 million in bribes, and all he got was 8 1/2 years."
The conversation in general reminded me of an encounter I had last summer. I walked into the office of the head of a hot indie label that has had a lot of past and current success. He looked up over a stack of CDs and papers and asked me "What's Up?"
I held up my phone and said, "Want to see my toy?"
He said sure. I walked through a quick demo of Rabble and showed him some of the other labels that are live. At then end he said, "I am not really into technology, but that's f'ing cool. Let's do it."
No Powerpoint. No khaki pants and blue shirt. Just an appreciation of what each of us do. I think that the discussion above is saying a lot of the same thing but in a less direct way. Technology is hard and technologists do amazing things to solve technical problems. Convincing a base of youth consumers to adopt your product, that's extremely hard to do as well. The key point with consumers though is to make sure that you are listening. As I said before in this post, I don't think that many in Silicon Valley are listening.
Friday, March 03, 2006
At any rate, I am going on a 30 day fast from the use of 2.0 in anything I write, say, read or do, unless it is in a sales pitch.
So far they don't have a bunch of that ".0" stuff but I am sure they will do some cool things with it later. It will be interesting to see where they go with this when they try to make money.
Last.fm is going to require some more time for me because it isn't as easy as Pandora and I am still not sure what I am supposed to do.
Thursday, March 02, 2006
Anthony Bruno today in the Music and Money section in an article entitled "INTERNET INVESTMENTS ON THE RISE . . . AGAIN" mentioned our company Intercasting. Research analyst Rajeev Chand referenced us as a company with great potential in the mobile blogging space. The quote was,"There is a next wave of applications that are emerging," he says. "We continue to see strong interest in the mobile industry."
That sounds kind of nice. Sorry for the lack of a link. If you are a Billboard subscriber you can pull it up though.