Saturday, December 31, 2005

Quote of the day 3

"These Park Avenue sophisticates who go to the Polo store and spend trillions of dollars on cashmere sweaters are going to buy gummy bears in my store. Just because they buy certain clothes and wear mink coats and whatever, they still have an inner child. They will buy lollipops."

--Dylan Lauren, owner of Dylan's Candy Store, in a New York Times story on her expansion from candy into lifestyle products

Quote of the Day 2

"There's no limit to how far I could go in AOL - it's just the limits they put on me. I'm not in line to be CEO of AOL, but it's obvious that's where I'll end up, if I stay focused. Somebody's got to be the next CEO of AOL."
--Jason Calcanis, quoted in Wired's Revenge of the dot com poster boy article

Quote of the Day 1

"We had these really big Web sites, but what we didn't have was a way of entering, in a quick and rapid and scalable way, into smaller categories of topical passion."
AOL EVP Jim Bankoff on AOL's acquisition of Weblogs Inc, in a Wired story on why Jason Calcanis is now a media genius.

Palo Alto floodzone: is the creek gonna blow?

So 8 am this morning there's a knock at my door and a woman outside telling me to move my car out of the lot cause the lot is gonna flood in the current storm. She says the creek is 2/3 up the drain and that last time it rained this much some of the streets flooded--and yep, I'm in a flood zone (arrgh) that overflowed in 1998.
The city web site says:
"There have been major floods, though, with the 1950s being noteworthy: once, Baylands levees failed and a large area extending into Louis Road was flooded; another time the entire area from Middlefield Road at San Francisquito Creek to the Oregon Avenue/Bayshore area and beyond was flooded, with water flowing over the Bayshore Highway; this event was largely repeated in the disastrous flood of February 1998, considered roughtly to have been a 70 or 80-year flood. "

Friday, December 30, 2005 hires start-up vet to lead design team

It's a career move that is starting to seem somewhat familiar: a Web 2.0 start-up vet moving from entrepreneurial status into a leadership role within a large company. This time it's Khoi Vinh, principal at design co Behavior, who's joining the NYTimes as their design director, a job that's been vacant almost a year, since Sumin Chou moved on. Vinh's blogged about the switch, and says: " I have grand visions of what can be done as the Design Director of The New York Times Online, but I also have a pragmatic view of what needs to be done in order to realize those visions: to make design work, especially in this position, will require dedicated labor, genuine diplomacy, judicious management and earning the respect of peers and colleagues."

Involved in the Onion redesign, Vinh clearly has both creative chops and technical skills the Grey Lady can use, and best of all, he's got that fresh point of view--that vision--bigcos are so eager to acquire.

Update: Best hed on this story I've seen so far: Designer of fake news sites now works for NY Times.

Quote of the Day

"The Flickrizers most ambitious goal is to turn Web searching itself into a social event -- the idea being that you can find what you're looking for faster if you first see pages saved and tagged by people you know and trust. Done well, it could play as the triumph of the humans over Google's cold mechanical approach.

This is an especially attractive idea to Yahoo veterans, since it harks back to the vision Yang and Yahoo co-founder David Filo had in their Stanford University dorm rooms: Categorize the Web and recommend the best sites for its users, using human editors. That vision had to be abandoned when the Web got too large. But this time the users and the editors will be one and the same, there will be enough to tackle the entire Internet -- and Yahoo won't have to pay them."
Erick Schonfeld, Business 2.0 article

(Via Scott Beale)

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Open Source index:Fortune 500 Business Blogging

Wired and Socialtext's Fortune 500 Business Blogging wiki--how cool is this?
Chris Anderson writes: "...we've decided to open source the project.... It's a wiki'd version of the above spreadsheet that anyone can edit, adding new Fortune 500 blogs as they're found or revising existing entries. It's released under a Creative Commons attribution license, so anyone is free to use it any way as long as they point back to the wiki."

Susan sez: This is a great example of how new tools can drive new paradigms--bet this will be a very useful list in a week or two, maybe less.

2005: Three more people to thank--Lisa Williams, Julie Leung, Richard MacManus

In my 2005 lists, I left off two people who have given me incredible positive emotional support and challenged me intellectually during the past year--Lisa Williams and Julie Leung. Lisa is one of the quiet greats--she's not only involved in podcasting, citizen journalism and her own family life, she's a tremendously energetic and compassionate friend.
Julie is also someone who has given me a great deal this year--both by example and through her friendship.
Thank you both for everything, and hope 2006 brings everything you want.

And finally, one other person to single out--Richard MacManus. Richard and I have worked together a good bit this year, and he is always on time, accurate and smart--gotta love it.

Thank you all for being who you are.


WeightWatchers reports that weight loss is the #1 New Year's resolution. Is anyone surprised?(Via SPIP)
So how does Google collect and rank search results? Details here. (Via no fancy name)
Dave Beisel: Do new web services make the transition from serving digerati to usage in the mainstream? (Or, in other words, how does something new make it into the mass market?)
Tim Watson: His picture of the year, via Rocky Mountain News.
Slate: Why opening a cute little cafe will put you in the poorhouse. (Via Amy)
Richard MacManus games Digg.

Head cold: I've got it, too

Confession: I made the mistake of thinking I wouldn't be one of the sniffling, wheezing hordes complaining about cold and flu this week--but I was wrong. It may be almost a week since Christmas, but my nose is as red as Santa's coat and as runny as Rudolph's eyes(ugh).
Writing year-end charity checks and trying not to ach-oo on them; the dog doesn't understand why I don't want to go outside and run around with him. Arrghh.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Quote of the Day

"Do you have more kids than you do blogs and struggle with finding that oh-so-special quiet time to write (I mean think staight)? Or are you overwhelmed with 20 blog mouths to feed while your realworld kid eats oreos in front of the TV?"
--Jeaneane Sessums

Blogger caught on depressurized plane

Blogebrity co-founder Jeremy Hermann was on of the passengers on the Alaska Airlines jet that depressurized at 30,000 feet, wrote about it--and took pix with his Treo.
Jeremy writes:
"Nothing can describe the helpless feeling you go through during a time like this, when you are absent any control, you cannot breathe, and everyone around is stunned into fear. It all started with a loud bang - the cabin air began to swirl and the engine sound became deafening. As a GA-VFR pilot, I knew something was terribly wrong. As the smell of acrid AV-gas/JP4 and burning plastic filled the cabin, it created more fear in the eyes of the holiday passengers around me. We were all gripped in silence, surrounded by the white noise from the engines that eerily engulfed the plane into a surreal atmosphere. And as the oxygen masks deployed from the ceiling in a familiar, video-esque manner, we all grasped them in fear - trying to figure out how to breathe through the flimsy pieces of plastic..."

Susan sez: Yeah, the coverage this story received--and the big media pickup --show citizen journalism is moving into the mainstream, but my main impression is gut-chilling fear at the situation--and relief everybody was okay.

Update: Seems like some folks using an Alaska Airlines IP address had some mean things to say to Jer...

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Quote of the Day

"With podcasting just over a year old, the current maleness of the podcast audience at the aggregate level is consistent with gender usage trends of the early web. The fact that so many women who have listened to podcasts have done so recently signals the beginning of a trend toward a more balanced gender composition of the podcast audience. It's also reflective of the ever-increasing variety of podcast content with broadening appeal."
---Mark McCrery, Podtrac Co-Founder, CEO.

Demographics of podcasting, from the just published Podtrac survey--
  • 2% of respondents are familiar with the term podcasting,
  • 78% of those who have ever listened to a podcast are male.
  • In the last week however, those who have ever listened to a podcast were 51% female and 39% male.
( via designtechnica)

Wither Bayosphere?

Some of the citizen journalists who have been posting at Dan Gillmor's Bayosphere site for the past year are wondering what will happen to the site--and their involvement--now that Gillmor's moving into a series of academic appointments and a new nonprofit.
Mimi Kahlon writes:"...Dan, your leaving us in the dark about the future of this venture, as you move on your next one, seems directly opposed to some core principles of process that I thought were an essential part of Bayosphere - commitment and accountability to the community that Bayosphere has invited and encouraged. Sure, people can (and do) come and go from Bayosphere, and when the community is fully 'bottom up', we might expect that to happen without fanfared farewells. We're not at that stage yet, and the venture still has Dan's strong imprint. Given that, it's not responsible, Dan, for you to quietly walk away without giving us a sense of what's going to happen to the project that we've all invested in."
Other posters wonder what's happening with the tools, blog links, and support services.
While there are some cynical comments-and probing questions--being published, the bottom line here might be translated as 'What happens to community when the funding runs out/moves on?"
I imagine there will be clarification once the holidays are done...meanwhile, there's a lot of interesting detail if you follow these links.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Looking back on 2005

I don?t like year-end predictions, so I am going to skip making any, but I do want to look back at some of the people, events, and technologies that rocked my world.
A few things that stand out:

  • The explosion of MySpace and other social networks for under 25's: This is the year when researchers' statements about how under-25s have different notions of how online and offline relate become dramatically clear-Just as clear is the huge behavioral gap between networked MySpace kids and the rest of us.
  • Newspapers' dying gasps--Did anyone think the dying breaths of many print properties, and the steep fall off in both ad revenue and the under 40 year old readers would come quite as fast as it did? While the biggest corporations are fighting back, and the small ones are going local, the mid-sized conglomerates are staunching the bleeding as fast as they can,but not replacing the audience--and in some cases, getting sold.
  • A growing sensitivity toward gender diversity. BlogHer, kicking and screaming by certain outspoken women and the realization gender balance matters have sensitized some great guys,and some cool tools, much to the good (And yet, making sure women are represented remains a tough row to hoe.)
  • Tagging's explosion, and the complete confusion over standards, scaling, and tools. Tagging is a critical part of the distributed web that we all live in today, and yet, it's a mess. Not only do consumers not get how to use tags, lots of content providers don't get it either, and the squabbling over formats is maddening.
  • Jeff Jarvis, Dave Winer, Mike Arrington, Gabe Rivera--Jeff and Dave continue to wow me almost weekly with the bright ideas they debate (and their healthy egos are amusing, aren't they?). Mike Arrington has launched himself at emerging technology news with the heat of a stealth missile and the acrid wit of a 1940's beat reporter,he's got the news. And Gabe Rivera's changed many people's reading habits,mine included, with the terrific memeorandum, which just keeps getting better as Gabe tweaks. And finally, Jeff Clavier, who has quietly convinced me he knows which start-ups to bet on and where the money is, plus, I want to drink what he's having (oenophile).
  • Mary Hodder, Lisa Stone, Elisa Camahort, Jory Des Jardins, Charlene Li, Sylvia Paull--These women rock bigtime and exert quiet influence in the emerging tech space. Sisters.
I could go on, but this is enough...everyone else's lists will cover what I've missed.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Happy Holidays to all

Best wishes for the holiday season to everyone who reads this blog!

Maui was Wowi, or my holiday vacation

Heading home today from Maui. Yes, it was great. When I go to the beach, I truly relax...and this was a great break after a busy fall and during an even busier winter.
Some trip highlights: snorkeling (though I got seasick), hiking the coastline, Paia, road to Hana, especially the arboreteum and the roadside BBQ, Da Kitchen, Mama's FishHouse, yoga by the beach. Also enjoyed watching the LA entertainment lawyers flock together like HS kids by the hotel pool as the hotel got more crowded, spending more time in the gym, and the 'get off your computer' comments from friends (thanks).
And Z--you are a super travel buddy.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Google/AOL: The $1B Dollar Misunderstanding?

"We're looking forward to what AOL can help us do for you, and believe that our new agreement with them will only create a better experience for you in 2006 and beyond..."
--Marissa Mayer, Google,

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Dept of How cool is that?

Kinja relaunches with blogger dashboards, aka cards
Alex Bosworth does BozPages
Disney & Zazzle: A new deal leads to neat new stuff
Evhead: The social media top 10, according to Alexa data

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Quote of the Day

"Yesterday removed all its "mature" age screening pages in favor of making any Tribe marked as formerly "mature" or flagged by anyone who objects to the content, invisible unless you're in the Tribe. Why care? For one, it's an interesting experiment to see what happens when interpretation of 2257 porn record-keeping requirements is taken to its extreme, and essentially made into a censorship tool anyone in a tinfoil hat can enforce. Another reason is that they're censoring users' content and profiles (mine included). It's also interesting because you can see just how fucked up and useless the 2257 laws are. It's like 1984 in there; anything deemed offensive is made to go away. I'm giving them a report card on Fleshbot about how they scored, and below is where I reveal more information about Tribe and 2257, and why I'm feeling a cold, cold anger toward about this whole thing."
--Violet Blue, tinynibbles and Fleshbot

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Tech news: betas, dinners and more

Ditto the vacation chill--here's some interesting notes from the inbox:
CivicSpace Labs builds, a Drupal-based ecommerce site designed to sell items for non-profits.
Via Dave Sifry: The new, new Technorati has LOTS of new features.
Bob Wyman: Structured Blogging has a mailing list.
Scoble: Geek dinner in Palo Alto, CA Dec. 30th...all invited.

Dan Gillmor launches citizen journalism nonprofit with Harvard and Berkeley support

Dan Gillmor is launching a nonprofit for Citizen's Media, with support from two major universities.
Dan writes: "the center will collaborate with the University of California, Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. As an I.F. Stone Teaching Fellow, I'll do a class next fall, and my principal physical office will be at Berkeley as well....Our Atlantic-facing partner is the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University Law School, where I'll be a Research Fellow. I'll visit there regularly -- at least once a month -- to work with other fellows, faculty and students."
Silicon Beat wonders what will happen to Bayosphere; Steve Rubel notes Dan is moving to non-profit status.
Dan sez: "Why do this? We need a thriving media and journalism ecosystem. We need what big institutions do so well, but we also need the bottom-up -- or, more accurately, edge-in -- knowledge and ideas of what I've called the "former audience" that has become a vital part of the system."
Susan sez: "Dan will be a good teacher and a voice for bottoms-up efforts--it will be great to track his work in parallell with Jeff Jarvis.

Media news, noted

Because I am on vacation (I really am relaxing!), this is just a quick list from the news filling my inbox:
Pegasus News, the Texas-based citizen journalism business helmed by Mike Orren, is getting ready to roll out and will include music/entertainment site, according to Steve Outings column. Fans of this new site will also want to check out Robert Duffy's Ohio-based
Web 2.0 workgroup (
yes, that name is so 2005, lol) adds Stowe Boyd, Steve Rubel and Ben Barren to the roster.
Announced: 2006 finalists for the Digital Edge Awards of the NAA, known as the Edgies. is a finalist in six categories, has five finalist entries.,,, Chicago Tribune Interactive,,,, and Online Athens are represented with three or more finalist entries. Awards given at conference in February.

Monday, December 19, 2005

SOLD: One boy--NYTimes story on cyber teen

NYTimes: The secret life of a teenager who was lured into selling images of his body on the Internet over the course of five years--with interviews and, yes, pictures.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Life's a beach

For the past 24 hours, the cell phone has been in the hotel room.
For most of the day, the computer has been off.
Taking a step back from the frantic pace of life feels great--hope everyone has a chance to slow down over the holidays.


David Hornick: Where's the money in the long tail? "...there are essentially two general classes of technology the will benefit economically from the Long Tail -- aggregators and filterers."
Forbes: Comparision shopping referral sites are raking it in this holiday season-how come?
Berkman Center: Training new bloggers , advice therein (Via Beth Kanter)
Mark Cuban: NYTimes talks to Mark Cuban, marverick movie producer (and a damn good one, it seems)

Riya is a Google no-go

Robert Scoble and Mike Arrington report on the no-sale of Riya to Google, with additional comments from Jeff Clavier and VC Peter Rip who says "The glitter of the rumor of instant tech wealth is the affirmation we all seek for devoting ourselves to the irrational pursuit of the Myth."
Or, to put it another way, no deal is real til the agreement is signed and the money changes hands.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Google to buy 5% of AOL; told ya so

Back in September, I said Google would end up buying AOL--well, they didn't get the whole thing but they got $1B worth--5% of the company, according to tonight's NY Times article.
Apparently, to get all those sweet ad placements on AOL screens, Google agreed to showcase AOL content results, breaking--for the first time ever-their link rank/relevancy rules in favor of filthy lucre(does any still wonder if these owners of this immense money machine have "sold out", whether or not they take custom winnebagos to burning man?)
I remember, back in 2000, when some Netscapers wanted AOL to buy Google, for, I think $3-10 million, and a certain very rich executive, who shall remain nameless, bellowed down the halls "Search?No one on AOL cares about that!" (Of course, he was over-ruled and AOL joined Yahoo in investing in Google, making enough on the stock deal to compensate for a few rotten quarters.)
Anyway, now Google will be the overlords, using AOL screens to host and carry their cash-bearing ad algorithms...hatching their nests of keywords inside community and content and...Ugh, sounds like a science fiction movie starring a horde of ad-driven locusts.

Okay, a head-clearing deep breath--other side of the deal is that AOL gets to sell ads on Google, making them the biggest inventory-dealer in Agency Land. Plus Google pushes AOL Video within their video offering, Plus, the AOL guys get to ride on Serge and Larry's plane--nah,I made that up.
But you get the drift--in a year, we'll be watching a very different Google--one that may have morphed into something alot more like AOL was back in the day, when they were fat and sassy and thought no one cared about search.

What''s going on with Susan

In 24 hours, I am going on vacation--the laptop is coming, but the goal is to switch gears--snorkel, take scuba classes and chill fora couple days before 2006 kick starts.
Expect light postings for the next week, except for those inevitable crazy bursts of blogging insomnia once in a while.

Quote of the Day

" The qualities I look for in a man are the qualities I look for in a blogger: passion, relentlessness, risk taking, and a light touch."
--Ariana Huffington, quoted in Esquire, Jan 2006 issue

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Blog Network ranks: Flattering but too good to be true?

Been meaning to comment on these new blog network rankings for a couple days--According to the new blog network list, the Web 2.0 workgroup is in the top 10 blog networks and this blog is number 56 among more than a thousand blogs.
While this is very cool, and amazingly flattering, Miz Skeptic here feels it's a little too good to be true--or, to put it another way--it's a list that measure what it measures (I notice that both Dave Winer and Steve Rubel's blogs are not on the list of what they are measuring, for example).

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Quote of the Day

"What should be really alarming for newspaper owners is that the same process that ate their classified income is going to affect their other revenue streams. Just as classifieds went from costly to free, the display advertising will begin to dry up, as youth-seeking national advertisers follow their targets to the online world. And the very core of the newspaper product, the professional news report, is under siege, thanks to a myriad of missteps in the newsrooms and the rise of amateur (in the best sense), free alternatives."

--Scott Rosenberg on newspapers and digital media

Alexa opens up its web data; miracles to follow

Via Battelle and Tech Crunch, the news that Alexa is making its data available on the Web Services platform. Specifically, Alexa is opening up its 5 billion web documents and 100 terabytes of data to anyone who wants to use it--including the much-studied site rankings based on toolbar users.
What does this mean?
In brief, anyone who would like to can use Alexa's crawl, Alexa's processors, Alexa's server farm to mash up data, build new apps, create new services.
Wow. Wow. Wow.
Another superb move by Alexa founder Brewster Kahle and the Amazon team.

Another view: Jeff Clavier--Repeat after me: the index of a search engine is a commodity

Monday, December 12, 2005

Monday deals: PubSub and Viacom/CBS News

No, PubSub's not acquired, they've signed a deal that allows users of all CBS local affiliate news pagesto get keyword search results delivered via PubSub's RSS alerting technology on .
There's an example on the WCBSTV web site--but it doesn't seem that active, yet--but it's good to see a media company deploy some new tools that can serve users' national and local interests.
(Via Micropersuasion)

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Yahoo wins in unique visitor traffic wars, race continues

A recent eMarketer report says that Yahoo is #1 in the number of unique visitors to its sites, and also the top destination for news. According to their for-sale study, Nielsen//NetRatings data shows that in August Yahoo topped the pack in terms of unique visitors (see chart below). However, in addition, during the week ended September 4, 2005, nearly half of all Internet users logged on to Yahoo!--
This suggests that Yahoo's strategy of offering cool tools, quality data, and an integrated web environment may be working for them across the globe better than it does for #5 portal (in unique visitors) AOL, who is also pursuing an a la carte, integrated strategy--but with much weaker tools.
Susan sez: What is most interesting here is how Yahoo and Google continue to pull ahead of the pack--and what AOL and MSN will do to keep pedalling. More acquisitions, anyone?

Steve Case sez: Set AOL free

AOL founder Steve Case says it's time to spin AOL out, again: "Any half-hearted move toward "liberating" AOL is no more likely to succeed than the half-hearted effort toward "integrating" AOL over the past six years. Given that Time Warner failed to capitalize on AOL's potential during a period when it owned 100 percent of AOL, it seems doubtful that a scenario in which it has a lesser, but still controlling, stake will work better...AOL has spent the last six years wrestling with integration issues -- it needs to be independent now so it can start to regain its leadership position."
Steve says:
As a single unit, AOL could buy small companies, a la Yahoo and Google and compete
(Susan sez: As a conglomerate, hasn't it continued to do that--with more than 8 acquisitions in the past 2 years?)

Steve says: As a free standing unit, AOL can better compete in the social network space against MySpace and Facebook.
Susan sez: And why do you think that? Given that many of AOL's highly experience community staffers have been there more than 8 years, and that much of the moderation is now outsourced, what would AOL suddenly be empowered to do differently?

Steve says: The current effort to make AOL Portal #1 is a waste--portals are over and verticals are in.
Susan sez: I totally agree on this one, but don't see how spin off would help it do this any better--unless Steve wants to come back and reinvent it.

Conclusion: I don't agree with Case that spinning AOL out is a good idea--but my reasons have to do with the management--I just don't believe that a stand-alone AOL would be any more nimble or able to act on the good ideas Case suggests. In this instance, it's just too late--the baby has been thrown out with the bath water.

(Via The Washington Post)

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Saturday's amazing image

from we make money not art: Two Buddhist monks pray in the Wat Tham Yod Thong temple, in the Ratchaburi province, Thailand. Their helmets protect them in case of falling rocks.

I'll be at Syndicate next week

I'll be at the syndicate conference in San Francisco next week--if you want to meet up, get in touch.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Newsflash: Yahoo bought del.icious!

Quote of the Day

"Nothing is more important to the future of our web ambitions than to engage our sophisticated readers. Blogs are one way to do it."
Jon Landman, DeptyManaging Editor, New York Times, via LA Observed

Guardian adds newsreader

The , one of the largest--and most innovative online-- newspapers in the UK, has launched a branded feed reader powered by Newspoint. See the quick guide.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

eCommerce Watch: Hunting the nice holiday price

So we've all established that online shopping is a good way to save on gas and avoid the mall, but this just in news suggests that this year a bigger slice of the online transactional pie is going to comparative shopping search engines, those referral banks that allow consumers to compare distributors and prices.
From Nielsen/NetRatings: Traffic rose 61 percent at online comparison shopping sites in the week ending November 27 compared to the week ending October 30. Regular online retailers saw a 35 percent rise in traffic during the same period. Comparison shopping sites, including, and Shopzilla, accounted for 0.3 percent of all Internet traffic -– a 24 percent increase over the same period last year according to Hitwise. (data via Kelsey and zdnet.)

Susan sez: Common belief is that consumers typically use these engines to find fair prices from companies they find reliable--I wonder a) if what is being purchased via these engines is the same as last year, or different? b) how many of the users driving the metrics surge are new users of these services?

Yahoo answers: Yahoo builds a YAAN

Yahoo Answers, IMHO, is YAAN--yet another answer network--another attempt to build community out of tagging common questions--and therefore attitudes and interests--among a wide and loosely joined network of people--but it looks and feels very much like 43 things to me.
One of the questions and answers I dug out of Yahoo Answers Love & Romance was how can I find a russian bride without paying for her?--the Q&A format seems amazingly like 43 Things--with similar social network ethos--only, of course, Yahoo can link this (and they should) throughout more of their apps--and among their 82MM global users.
As Gary Price points out, YA is also reminiscent in some ways to and has some cross over with Squidoo (as Parekh points out).

Feeling a little cynical this morning, my take is.....once it's integrated into other services it could be great--as a stand-alone, yawn.

What's your dream media team, aka the make believe hiring list

Dimitar Vesselinov's dream media team--
President: Richard Branson
John Battelle
Jason Calacanis
CEB (chief executive blogger):
Robert Scoble
Max Levchin
CSA (chief software architect):
Mark Canter
Chris Anderson
Chief customer representative:
Craig Newmark
More here.

PS-- D is Bulgarian, reads a huge quantity of blogs, and is smart...nice variation on who wojuld play you in a movie..the make believe hiring list.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Yahoo Messenger: Going after Skype

Earlier this week, I saw a demo by Yahoo Communication Products team leads Brad Garlinghouse and Jeff Bonforte of new phone services that are integrated into Yahoo Messenger--but the meeting was embargoed-that is, till Newsweek broke the embargo (and scooped the bloggers).

The core of the new product announcement was the news that a dialpad has been added to Mesenger, turning it into a phone service able to make domestic or international calls to regular telephones. at a price of 1 cent a minute--but the bells and whistles include the ability for anyone anywhere to purchase a phone number with which to receive calls, free voice mail, news ways to store phone numbers and chose contract methods working off a buddy list, and the hope of integrating the phone capabilities into all sorts of Yahoo verticals.

What impressed me the most about this product announcement--aside from Yahoo's obvious determination to launch a global product to go after Skype--was the opportunities it offered for integration into Yahoo premium services like Personals and Fantasy Baseball as either product upgrades or new revenue streams. To put it in other words, one of the ways Yahoo can compete with Google, IMHO, isn't to try to match then in product sets and feature to feature upgrades but to figure out what they can do differently--and do it amazingly well--and integration of tools across media and life management platforms seems like one smart way to go in this regard.

Passion: Gawker launches Consumerist--a new whineatorium?

Besides the fact it's about shopping, and it has a name that actually means something, Gawker's new Consumerist site promises to be the place where the editors--and the readers--can bitch and moan, sort of an untested Consumer Reports for the global nomads locked up in every suburb in america.
The subhead is Shoppers bite back (think Jarvis Dell Hell, folks) and the implication is these word-mincers will roar.
Editor Joel Johnson says: "Each week The Consumerist will guide you through the delinquencies of retail and service organizations. The Consumerist will highlight the persistent, shameless boners of modern consumerism -- and the latest hot deals, discounts, and freebies around."

Anyone wanna bitch? Sounds like this is meant to be the new whineatorium.


Quote of the day

* "How a Giant Software Maker Played Hardball", New York Times, October 1998:

"For both software companies, a deal with America Online, which had five million subscribers at the time, could mean a big surge in browser use and market share.

Netscape seemed the natural partner for America Online, since both companies were Microsoft rivals. On March 11, America Online did announce that it would buy Netscape technology, but it was a standard licensing deal based on a payment-for-use formula. The next day, America Online announced a more significant deal with Microsoft making its browser the default technology -- the browser America Online subscribers would use unless they specifically asked for Netscape's Navigator.

To win the deal, Microsoft offered to give America Online a start-up icon on the Windows desktop -- precisely the kind of equal treatment on the main Windows screen that Case had asked the Justice Department to require of Microsoft. "After we agreed to its Internet Explorer browser, Microsoft allowed us to be bundled on the Windows desktop," Case said. "It was an example of Microsoft's pragmatic side."

--From Michael Parekh, writing on how AOL may have failed to do an equity acquisition deal with Google or Yahoo or Microsoft, and so might dump Google adwords to team up with Microsoft against the big G--and recalling 1998's browser bait and switch games.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

WSJ covers memorandum & Tech Crunch

Lee Gomes in the Wall Street Journal highlights technology blogs--Memeorandum and Tech Crunch among them--as high quality and influential.
Quote of the moment: "The difference between the old media elite and the new blogging elite is that the latter gets redefined much more frequently. All it takes is attracting links from other bloggers."

Susan sez: Well, it's not quite that simple--these two work their tails off.
Congrats, gentleman--it's well deserved!

New: U.S. Congress Votes Database

Adrian Holovaty of the Washington Post just released his latest project--a U.S. Congress Votes Database, which lets readers browse voting records from the U.S. Congress since 1991.
There are RSS feeds for the data, an RSS page for core info, aggregated data for each Congress, includingf votes that happened after midnight, vote missers and, on vote totals by astrological sign. Best of all--andmost useful--you can see voting records, as in this page for San Jose CA House member Zoe Lofgren.
The site doesn't have a good search tool yet, but it's a tremendous start on something much needed-and probably soon to be the basis for some cool mash-ups!

Mixing it up: AOL shoves The NYTimes back down

In a world where Google and Yahoo are leaders, it will be interesting to see other large media and consumer experience cionglomerates with diversified product lines fight to get into the other sweet spots where ad dollars significantly flow.
If Jordan Rohan is correct, and Time Warner's Dick Parsons never meant to sell AOL whole, just to build up interest and get better terms from Google, then one way to think about the recent turn of events is as a solid slap at the New York Times, another company that has been making a sustained and serious effort to grow into the portal ranks.
Not only did NYTimes buy to grow their page views and diversify their platform, they bought it to further increase their consumption and targeted delivery of Google AdWords--putting them much close to AOL as Google's biggest (and most preferred?) client.

So doesn't a new (and presumably enhanced) AOL/Google deal shove the Times back down the food chain a bit--again?

Quote of the Day

"Parsons has done a masterful job of making it look like AOL was for sale when I don't think it was. The most likely outcome is simply an improvement in the terms AOL gets from Google."
--Jordan Rohan, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets, quoted in NY Times

Monday, December 05, 2005

Future of News: Jarvis nails it again

Jeff's eloquent on newspapers, as in future of news in this long post about some European innovators and the usual crowd back here in the states. A snippet:
"Our task is to stop seeing old failings everywhere and start seeing all the new opportunities before us, to exploit the future and expand news, to exhibit a passion about the possibilities, as Rafat Ali told the Online News Association. And we must accept the reality of the marketplace and stop wishing it wouldn't change."
"From a business perspective, we need to stop whining about readers moving online. If that's what they want to do, then go with them, damn it!"

(You know, Jarvis was my boss for a while, and not only was he just as smart (and sharp) back then--he taught me a hell of a lot--and still does.)

Quote of the Day

"...Entrepreneurs have come to realize that social networks are enablers of other compelling consumer experiences. Thus, social networks are becoming an important ingredient of all sorts of consumer experiences. Social networks inform the conversations that take place among friends on LiveJournal. Social networks enable the discovery of new music on MySpace. Social networks enhance the multi-player gaming experience at Xfire. Social networks now empower recruiting on LinkedIn. And dozens of new social networks are emerging to enable specific, valuable consumer experiences that are enhanced by the underpinnings of the network."
--Dave Hornik, VentureBlog

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Quote of the Day

"Although networks are still in their infancy, experts think they're already creating new forms of social behavior that blur the distinctions between online and real-world interactions. In fact, today's young generation largely ignores the difference.

Most adults see the Web as a supplement to their daily lives. They tap into information, buy books or send flowers, exchange apartments, or link up with others who share passions for dogs, say, or opera. But for the most part, their social lives remain rooted in the traditional phone call and face-to-face interaction.

The MySpace generation, by contrast, lives comfortably in both worlds at once. Increasingly, America's middle- and upper-class youth use social networks as virtual community centers, a place to go and sit for a while (sometimes hours)."
--The MySpace Generation, Businessweek

The world does not need this--

Friday, December 02, 2005


WSJ: Chamath Palihapitiya, AOL's IM lead, quits to VC at Mayfield Ventures where he will help the firm *get* what young people want(and have a amazing life, right?)
Workbench: Geeze, at Wikipedia, it looks like Adam Curry might be snipping credit for others out of the podcasting entry. As Wikipedia editor Jeremy Hunsinger said: "For some reason a person at keeps removing vital material that explains some of the history of the development of podcasting."
Comscore: Consumers between the ages of 35 and 54 years old accounted for more than 45 percent of all online video watched in August 2005; 35 to 54 year-olds are 20 percent more likely to watch online video than the average Internet user.
Top Ten Sources: Blog bundles, by subject, from a smart site found via Halley.

When there's more story in the comments,or "I can't believe he said that."

Yesterday's post about the Craigslist story has all sorts of interesting discussion going on now in the comments--and the blogosphere.
The writer, Ryan Blitstein, said that there were no female sources for the story because "Sadly, few media critics and leaders of the citizen journalism movement are women. "
That has provoked some good discussion from Elisa Camahort, Halley Suitt, Nancy White and others--and a lot of frustration at another journalist who doesn't seem to get it.

Rize: Get Krumped

Watched photog David LaChappelle's documentary RIZE on krumping, a style of hip hop dancing that's violent, expressive and the center of an alt culture in Los Angles, Long Beach and nearby areas. Given that LaChapelle is the man who shot a Lolita-like Britney for Rolling Stone, the movie is suprisingly fresh--Though it does drag on too long, the dancers' intelligence and vitality is obvious.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

NAA 20 Under 40--Congrats Dan Pacheco

Bakotopia's developer, Dan Pacheco, just got honored as one of the NewspaperAssociation's 20 Under 40.
Quote to note: "...I'm amazed at how much I've been allowed to accomplish through a small family-owned newspaper company like the Californian. I'm allowed to work much faster than I ever could at gargantuans like The Washington Post and America Online...One of the many reasons I chose to work where I do is because I absolutely could not believe what I was hearing about what the 'indie' Californian was doing. Here I was at America Online, with a job many people work their whole careers to get to, and people in Bakersfield with far less money and resources were pulling off stuff that I'd been trying to push through for six years."

Quote of the Day

"Honestly, we have spent the past 24 hours mulling over former New York Press owner Russ Smith's Mugger column in the alt-weekly's latest issue, in which he details the sale of Gawker Media to the New York Times Company for $32 million. As this is utterly ridiculous and unequivocally not true, we imagine Smith intended the piece as some sort of quasi-parody.

But we can't look away from Smith's column, and it's not because we think it's particularly insightful or witty or even otherwise worth discussion. We're fascinated, quite frankly, because we don't get it."
--Jesse Oxfield and Jessica Cohen, Gawker editors, Dec. 1, 2005

Susan sez: Oh, now I get it--after reading 2,000 boring words, Smith is using Gawker to swat at the Times. As in NYT you are screwed. Quelle Brilliant (not).

Afterthought: How about someone send Russ Smith out to the Hamptons and have him do EST with Tom Wolf? Or maybe to Berkeley to intern with the Daily Kos?

Afterthought 2: Never mind, let Russ Smith go work at Gawker--they obviously got him started when they interviewed him back in 2004.

b5 media: If it worked for Calcanis, it can work in Canada

Jeremy Wright, Darren Rowse, Duncan Riley, Aaron Brazell, Ingrid Diaz and friends are taking a run at the consumer market (having first focused on bsiness blogging, right?) with a new set of entertainment and celebrity blogs, including CelebArmour --a true homage to PerezHilton as part of their b5media blog network.
There are The Hilton Files, Top Model Gossip, MTV Reality World, a batch of blogs about beauty and so on.
Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery, or the easiest way to shoot for $25MM in success?

Inside Craig: SFWeekly writer profiles The Listman

Ryan Blitstein's done a lovely job profiling Craig Newmark in SF Weekly, digging into both Craig's smart simplicity and the profound disruption his efforts have caused.
Favorite snippets:
Describing Craig monitoring CL in his unfinished home office: "This is how the multimillion-dollar global corporation that is Craigslist Inc. remains operational: with the founder sitting at home for hours a day, pointing and clicking on a "Sweep the Leg!" button. Yet the consequences of this bare-bones behemoth's rise now stretch far beyond Newmark's home and the Craigslist community."

"Newmark now suffers from a moral dilemma: He feels guilty about helping cause job losses and poorer-quality papers, but he's excited to accelerate the decline of the big, bad mainstream media. He seems determined to remedy his sins against the media by changing it for the better, lending his name and dollars to a citizen journalism movement populated by J-school professors, idealistic techno-futurists, and so-called citizen journalists. A self-described news dilettante, Newmark believes his recent journalism-related work could be more important than Craigslist. Citizen journalism, though, may not be enough to plug the news hole created by his site's success. Newmark's well-intentioned campaign to repair the institution he inadvertently injured could very well be in vain."

"As a private for-profit, Craigslist doesn't have to publicly disclose anything. SF Weekly parent company New Times doesn't release many financial details, either. Newmark, though, views his creation as something different. "We do a better job as a nominal for-profit," he says, "but we exist in a category that doesn't really exist in the law." That "category" allows Newmark to keep the domain, a name that gives the false impression that the site is a nonprofit, by using ".org," an extension almost exclusively used by nonprofit companies and foundations. Craigslist's marketing materials call this "a symbol of our service mission and non-corporate culture." (, which the company also owns, draws far less traffic.) It permits Newmark to use the word "non-commercial" twice on Craigslist's "Mission and History" page, and to bury the phrase "No charges, except for job postings" in the third line from the bottom."

This is the best piece on Newmark and CL I have read--and a must read for anyone interest in Craig, online classifieds, citizen journalism--and--surprise!-- the role of women in new media--as in why are they missing in action in a 10,000 word story like this one?

Yep, one interesting side note here, not the focus of this terrific story--is that every single person mentioned or quoted in it--except for Craig's unnamed girlfriend--is male.

(Susan sez: And what do you make of that? Anyone still wondering why Blogher was so special? I smell the new boys club... or unthinking writers...)

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