Monday, July 31, 2006
Dr Weinberger: Reasons vacations are the worst
- Can't sneak 19" monitor into your luggage.
- Staying indoors is suddenly considered abnormal.
- People insist that you "relax." What's that about?
5 Reasons: Why Life is like Software Development
There's the wish list, and the gotta have it list.
Sometimes you have to cut features to ship on time.
You gotta be agile.
If you screw up, try to pretend you're still in beta.
It's good to iterate.
Quote of the Day
Same for blogging tools."
-Podtech's Robert Scoble, commenting on Mena Trott's BlogHer panel comments when asked about the future of blogging.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
TechCrunch's Sunday Overviews-TV Guides round up
Assumed criteria: Categories that the web is (or continues to) game change; categories that combine structured and unstructured data, categories with large revenue.
Last week was online dating; this week it's TV-watching sites.
Mike's round up of TV sites is well done and well-articulated--this is a series worth looking for.
(And one I hope Mike continues--I'd like to see coverage not only of the well-known travel and autos categories, but an overview of the health space.)
What worked at BlogHer--And what didn't
What worked so well
- Maintaining a warm, accessible tone, even with 700+ people
- Giving the attendees a feeling of ownership and participation in the program
- Being real and authentic and presenting a wide range of interests
- The diversity--there were more people of color at this conference than any other I've attended--and that's the way it should always be
What could work better (aka plan for next year)
- Speaker/presenter training for hands on workshops--I was in a poorly run session on day 1 and a little training would most likely have fixed things
- Help/orientation for newvbies--If I had not known anyone, I would have felt lost in the crowd
- Ways to keep it going via newsletter or social network after the conference
Saturday, July 29, 2006
BlogHer: The sex session
One woman asks: Is it possible to write about sex, politics, faith and pull it off?
This audience wants to believe the answer is yes--but looking at the faces in the room, I'm feeling that the true issue is that we've all become people who value personal expression enough that in some ways pretending to be who we're not is just so over.
My sense is that this audience has a tremendous amount to say--but like the guys at Gnomedex--are holding back more that I might wish--as the conversation continues, themes that are coming up include managaing identity and privacy, frank women bloggers getting caught in custody suits, and the fellatio wars, and how to make sex blogs rank higher in the page ranks.
There's more discussion going on about the various reasons for secrecy--Susie Bright is highlighting how women are sometimes demeaned--and then articulating how all of us want to protect our privacy during intimate moments in life and emotional passages--so that we can create a context (great point, Susie!)
Susan says: IMHO, this was a good session. Lots of respectful discussion, humor, and sharing--Next steps: Women concerned with these issue could band together, perhaps through BlogHer, and share more information.
blogher, blogher conference, sexuality, erotica, sex blogs
Quote of the Day
--Food blogger Pim Techamuanvivit, speaking at BlogHer
Blogher Day 2: This conference is amazing!
I am so excited about the chance to meet and learn from new people and find out who they are--the energy here is so good, I wish I could bottle it and take it home to savor longer.
Meanwhile, Pim, Andrea, Gayla, Maggie and Marnie are rocking the house with their tips and stories. And the participants are jumping right in with stories and advice about being a web-based entrepeneur.
Some of the useful tips:
- Blog for community sites to grow your brand and links, but don't feel you need to work for free for commercial ventures as your traffic grows.
- Follow your passion--when you cut out the middleman, you can do whatever you want--quickly--and change it as you learn.
- Price your writing--cause you will get offered/asked about projects--as if you were a *real* writer--because you are.
- Change your resume to say you are a freelance writer--you are one cause you blog.
- Think about what your ad position is and whether you want to take sponsorship dollars--and if yes, from whom--Would it wreck your credibility?
The general tenor of the room is relaxed and inclusive, and the mood is...friendly.
Friday, July 28, 2006
Quotes of the Day
--BlogHer conference president Lisa Stone, on opening day, quoted in CNET.
"What's up with those Mommy Bloggers? They keep hugging each other."
--12 year old blogger Patrick Scoble, quoted on his stepmom Maryam's blog re BlogHer participants
More on BlogHer Day 1
I'm in a session right now with Lisa Stone and Lynn Johnson that Lisa is calling *a writing class*.
They're critiquing headlines from blogs and news stories, urging the bloggers in the room to be accurate in their headlines and ensure the payoff; also commenting on "link whoredom" and how putting celebrities in your headlines (for example) can drive SEO traffic to your site, big time.
The audience is listerning quietly and commenting; mood is gentle and kinda slow but with humor. Now under discussion: web searches and SEO.
Update: Waiting for the flickr photos to come in--latest links to conference photos here and here.
BlogHer: Day 1 Opening session 8:30 am
It's the second annual BlogHer conference and not only is the 600+ audience 90% women, some of them have kids in tow, from babies in arms to toddlers nibbling fruit.. When you see at least five different women walk by, each of them holding a child by one hand, and a laptop in the other, you know this ain't no boys club --au contraire, it's the epitome of open source journalism--lots of the women here just plain don't go to tech conferences--but they come to this one.
For me, a friend of the co-founders, and an advisor to the conference, the energy in the room is bliss--this is the conference where I not only talk about emerging technology, social media and cool tools--strong interests--but where I can also talk about relationships, social identity and
real world-virtual world relationships--things that I think about a lot that typical conferences don't always cover.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Marketwatch: TeenPeople qutting magazine biz,going web only.
BizWeek: Facebook and iTunes go back to school for a 10MM music samplers giveaway.
Reuters/WashPo: Yahoo hires scientist to run social seach research. "At Yahoo you have this unique opportunity to integrate conventional search with Flickr, Del.icio.us, Yahoo Answers, Yahoo Groups and Yahoo Mail--How do you take all this search activity and learn from it?" says Raghu Ramakrishnan, the new hire.
Daylife: Hype vs. Reality?
Investors and partners are telling us to "keep an eye out for Daylife," the new news tool set tech whiz Upendra Shardanand has been working on for the past 18 months with the very vocal Jeff Jarvis, but the truth of where their product lies seems to put it much closer to early stage prototypes and back end algo to show the (very connected) investors, than to something ready to ship.
At least, that's what this job posting for an engineering lead on Linked In would lead me to think--but hey, creating value is about building buzz, right?
Update: More Daylife jobs here. (Thanks, Lisa!)
Quote of the Day 2
--Digg co-founder Jay Adelson, quoted in an article by MediaShift's Mark Glaser
Quote of the Day 1
--Netscape lead Jason Calcanis, expertly baiting the controversy afresh over Netscape vs. digg, a battle Jason *manufactured. *
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
BlogHer: Are you going? I am
This time, I'm excited about seeing everyone, and pleased to not be speaking--it's good to give others a chance, and for me to just be present and participating.
If you're coming into town for BlogHer, or here anyway--and you want to make sure we meet up, please ping me at susanmernit at yahoo dot com...I'll be there both days.
Dabble goes live--congrats Mary!
Mary is one of the smartest people I know, a good product developer, and the leader of a strong team--I hope this one catches on and goes big.
Dabble info here and press links here.
NewAssignment.Net: Open Sourcing the AP
Jay writes: "The site uses open source methods to develop good assignments and help bring them to completion; it employs professional journalists to carry the project home and set high standards so the work holds up. There are accountability and reputation systems built in that should make the system reliable. The betting is that (some) people will donate to works they can see are going to be great because the open source methods allow for that glimpse ahead."
In other words, this is funding for both independent journalism and the long tail of Evelyn Rodriquez, Chris Albritton, and others.
"Each assignment would have a price tag, which is simply a realistic budget?- the amount that has to be raised to get the right people and do a very good job. NewAssignment.Net is a non-profit because it?s just about the journalism. Delivering audiences to advertisers isn?t the mission. The budget reflects the actual cost of doing the work, plus overhead for sustaining the site, plus whatever tax we decide to impose to carry New Assignment ahead."
Extra bits: Craig Newmark's donating $$, Dan Gillmor is advising, Jeff Jarvis's start up will provide tools--and who knows who else will get involved?
Susan says: This is potentially a very good idea, especially if Jay & co is shrewd enough (and I think he is) to make sure it's clear this project is for everyone--from 17 year olds urban kids to rural moms who want to research the power plant, to activists looking to do reporting abroad.
Monday, July 24, 2006
Ad Age: Walmart's MySpace killer for kids--called schoolyourway.walmart.com--is a major dog.
Canada.com: California heat wave responsible for knocking out Yahoo and myspace servers.
flickr: Cantikfotos posts a striking photo set of Taiwanese housing, now abandoned... (Via digg)
More lovosphere links--" How to use Google to get a girl and get laid."
Could it work for real?
Uh, kinda, maybe. (Or maybe not)
Is it a hysterical geeky read?
My favorite section is on social network site Orkut ("... Orkut is ancient Brazilian for ?place to find people who will have sex with you.") , but the whole thing is a hoot.
Lovosphere: Mike finds love, sorta
Some of my comments at TechCrunch (cross posted now to here):
"One of the advantages of a big player like Yahoo! Personals (disclosure: I work there), is the very large number of profiles and the sophisticated searching and matching tools.
For many people, especially outside of bigger cities, or with more niche or specific interests,the smaller sites offer too few prospects, even though their communities and activities are really engaging. I personally don'ít see social networking encroaching on online dating sites-- think SN helps build a market for online dating, actually.
Well, online dating users have hit a lifestage event. They want to meet someone better or different than the people they have in their expanded personal network and they want to take focused action and meet people within a limited period of time. This is quite a different impulse than using a social network to find people to have drinks with, or very casual meeting. You can be linked to thousands of people on a social network, but for most people over 30, that doesn'ít mean you are going to find a great date, a lover or a soul mate. "
Anyway, this is a rich discussion and outside the usual Web 2.0 focus TechCrunch often has..worth a read if this market interests you.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Quote of the Day
--Yahoo engineer Amr Awadallah, via David Jackson's Seeking Alpha blog
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Quote of the Day
--Blogger Freya, explaining why the current dust up about feminism and sexual choices is off the mark
Valleywag hits it: AOL/Calcanis
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Attack of the 50 foot trolls: Emily and Amanda
Apparently, both Amanda Chapel and *Emily* are real world sims--fake personalities with scripted story lines and writers who go engage real life bloggers as a way to push a commercial agenda.
Does this mean we're entering a time when your search history affirms your wuffie, a la Cory Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom?
Me thinks yes.
Quote of the Day
...If we're (DIGG, Delicious, Flickr, Reddit, MySpace, Netscape, etc) going to make businesses out of this space we should share the wealth.
As we say in Brooklyn: everyone's gotta eat."
--AOL exec and Netscape lead Jason Calcanis, using personality and viral marketing to support his product--and stir up some press.
Netscape and Digg: Mike Arrington's take--and mine
"At the end of the day, the Netscape product is a soulless reproduction of one of the most interesting cultural experiments occurring on the web right now. It was thrown at millions of mainstream Internet users (previous Netscape portal users) who don't understand Digg and probably don'ít care (yet). If anything, my bet is that total page views at Netscape have dropped since the changeover, possibly substantially. Buying users from Digg won''ít change that one bit."
Back in the day of 2000-20001, when I worked for Netscape (which was owned by AOL), my team's job was to take the portal and turn it into something women and men who weren't high tech and over 45 could use. We built a good product, margins and traffic jumped, and there was rejoicing in the land--at least, until the next AOL re-org, a constant in their culture and one that required impressively titled men with huge egos to constantly be moved to other (less important) new projects so they don't do battle to the death with the other big dogs right in the Dulles parking lots.
In other words, AOL's never made the commitment to Netscape as a brand that Kevin Rose has made with digg--instead, every 18 months they've handed it over to some impatient executive who doesn't realize--yet--he's being sent to the high-class version of corporate Siberia--where, if he slays the dragon, they might let him come back and run something they consider really important--like shopping, autos, or travel (joke).
I like Jason and think he is smart and talented, so this isn't a comment about him-it's a note about a corporate culture that seems to not really value most of the satellite brands, but will expend tons of energy on the core business, i.e., "The brand."
If you question this logic, take a look at the wonderfully crafted tmz.com, an AOL-supported gossip site that's come out of nowhere and become the hot spot for celeb news and then imagine that Jason probably pulled his digg copy off by using Weblogs Inc staff already on the payroll and a couple of designers, plus one PR flack.
What else can the guy do but use his blog to market? AOL ain't helping him--and they're not letting him get near anything the old guard thinks is really important.
Can anyone say twisting in the wind of the blogosphere three times fast?
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
News from the Lovosphere
Perscription for Love: TechCrunch says right on to dating search with chronic conditions.
Stephanie Klein: 4 am. Montana. A guy is breaking down your door. "You can make this easy or..."
Online dating spammers blog: Yep, that's what it says.
Monday, July 17, 2006
BlogHer makes the Boston Gobe
"The second annual BlogHer conference, with corporate sponsors like General Motors and Johnson & Johnson, will be held July 28-29 in San Jose, Calif. Attendance is expected to double from last year's session, which was supported by Yahoo and Google and attracted more than 300 women from around the country. Last year's theme was ``Where are the women bloggers?" The theme for BlogHer '06 is ``How is your blog changing your world?"
Quote of the Day
You see, in the old days, you could screw one customer with one bad product or you could insult one customer with bad service. But no more. Now, when you deal with one customer, you deal with all customers."
Friday, July 14, 2006
Quote of the Day
--VH1's Fred Graver, on Buzzmachine, via Rex Hammock
Identity Woman rocks the Merc
Dos that mean they're gonna pay Kaylia?
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Paid Content: NFL to launch social network for football fans for the upcoming season; sample screens here.
Laughing Squid:PodTech's Robert Scoble snags some cool staffers--Irina Slutsky and Eddie Codel.
Podcasting News: Nielsen reports podcasts are more popular with Americans than blog posts. "...6.6 percent of the U.S. adult online population, or 9.2 million Web users, have recently downloaded an audio podcast. 4.0 percent, or 5.6 million Web users, have recently downloaded a video podcast. These figures put the podcasting population on a par with those who publish blogs, 4.8 percent, and online daters, 3.9 percent."
BizPodcasting: Nielsen is hooey.
Bonus: Also worth noting-:
Click Z:"Yahoo will supply both Web search and sponsored search listings to Hispanic Digital Network (HDN), a group of more then 70 Spanish-language Web sites, under an exclusive multi-year distribution agreement."
CNET: Podcasts appeal most to trekkies, Mac users.
Update: Peter notes how bad my spelling was at this ungodly hour...sorry, folks...not only was I not really awake, my older laptop needs a keyboard replacement..sweaty fingers have rubbed the letters right off...Fixed, now!
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Music & books: Current faves
Just finished The Stolen Child by Kevin Donohue, a literary first novel about a changeling child and the human boy his gang steals--well worth a read.
Am now reading Tales of Protection, by Erik Fosnes Hansen, translated from the Norwegian, an amazingly complex and rich novel.
Gillian Welch, Revival
Joe Cocker, Ultimate Collection
Bonnie Bramlett, lady's choice
Mark Knopfler and EmmyLou Harris, All the Roadrunning
Nelly Furtado, Loose
Antena, camino del sol
Monday, July 10, 2006
Quote of the Day
--24 year old Theodora Stites, writing in the NY Times about the virtual intimacy and always connected energy that MySpace, Facebook, Friendster, Dodgeball, SecondLife, etc., offer her and her friends.
Friday, July 07, 2006
Quote of the Day
--John Koetsier, at Sparkplug, explaining why the Internet is EXACTLY like high school and why bloggers' behavior around discussions of Amanda Congdon's exit from Rocketboom proves it.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
NBC buying Tribe: The Deal is Real
(This is like the media armies of the east lining up on the great plain of user generated (video) content, ready to do battle).
A source who cannot be named, but who is truly in the know, confirmed the deal for me today...
Interesting, isn't it?
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Gawker: More reading the((software) tea leaves
Susan sez: I don't think investing in tools is particularly surprising, but it is a good point. After all, a core part of the success of Weblogs Inc was the great software Brian Alvey built; one has to assume the Gawker platform brought them this far.
Quote of the Day
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Quote of the Day
It's always a shock to find random people saying this stuff. The future's getting more evenly distributed. "
--Lisa Williams, writing in her blog, Learning the Lessons of Nixon
Sunday night supper on Tuesday
Friends are coming over later, and for dinner I'm making the following:
Two kinds of shrimp: Pan-seared with garlic, chili and ginger & steamed with cocktail sauce
Pan Roasted Asparagus
Baked Teriyaki Salmon
If we have any room left, there will be blueberries, nectarines and lemon sorbet.
(And of course I'll be eating the leftovers for dinner all week...)
July 4th: Happy--and grateful
Meanwhile, I am blogging away, windows open to the sunlight, dog asleep, playing Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris' perfect album, All the Road Running, along with two other current favorites--The Best of Delaney and Bonnie and Prince's 3121.
Have a great holiday, everyone!
July 4th...Home from Seattle
After the conference and the (very convival) Scoble BBQ (thanks. guys!), my old friends picked me up and carried me off. After a great dinner at the Hilltop AleHouse in Queen Anne , they proceeded to take me on a tour of local parks where one could view the sunset--from Kerry Park (virtual tour here) to more rustic--and charming-- Carkeek Park. Then it was back to their house, where the newly installed deck looked out over the bay, the trees were old and tall, and the sun was (still bright). Is there anything as sweet as reconnecting with old friends and seeing where life has taken then when you looked sideways?
Conclusion: I had a great weekend and Seattle is amazing--this has to become the next place I explore in detail--the mix of city on the edge of the woods and mountains and access to lots of water seems irrestible.
Monday, July 03, 2006
Quote of the Day
--Gawker Media CEO Nick Denton, explaining layoffs and realignments in his properties to the NYTimes.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Jimi Hendrix and the Experience Music Project Museum
I never thought I wold have a chance to see a notebook of song lyrics, c. 1968, written for Electric Ladyland. Or a 1857 drawing of Elvis Presley done by the young Jimmy. Or the great footage from Montery Jazz Festival where no one can help dancing. --Apparently, EMP's collection includes more than 80,000 artifacts including guitars belonging Bob Dylan, Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters and Kurt Cobain, fanzines, costumes, and song sheets.
What a pleasure!
Quote of the Day
--Jay Rosen, writing on The People formerly known as the Audience in a piece that is a MUST READ for everyone interested in participatory journalism, media, social media, etc. , so go there and check it out.
Saturday, July 01, 2006
Gnomedex Day 2
Best aspects: Halley Suitt's talk, the guys coming up to share stories around my talk yesterday, the women shaking their heads at all the guy talk about blow jobs, balls, and bragging and how unconsciously (sexist?) and condescending a couple of these older geek fellas are, Chris and Ponzi's beautiful spirit and energy.
(Quote via Eric Rice)
My talk at Gnomedex: Look back
The Look Back
How did it go?
How did the audience react?
As one blogger said, there was no way the room full of (mostly) male geeks felt ready to share their own thoughts and feelings about such personal stories on the web--people in the audience seemed far more focused on the possibility that anything one exposed--under your own name--like smutty jokes from when you were 14--would live in Google's search results forever and make employers and investors made and ruin your reputation (Pud, aka Phil Kaplan, amusingly refuted this one during the Q&A, thank you).
So once I got over the fact there wasn't going to be a big open discussion with everyone jumping right in (did I really think that?), it was all good--There's nothing like dancing on the edge of your comfort zone in public, right?
I made the points I wanted to make and shared what seemed appropriate--And my talk hopefull added some fresh thinking to the conference.
All afternoon, post session, people kept coming up to me and sharing comments and stories, so final cut would be that this topic was hard to talk about in public, but that many folks had much to say...just not in a group.
The Look Ahead
Blogher is coming up in a few weeks and I hope to have a similar discussion within Halley, Melissa and Susie's ROYO session (or somewhere)...Identity, persona, safety, voice are topics that continue to interest me, and exploring how they function as cornerstones for online personal expressions is a conversation I want to continue to have.
PS. Chris and Ponzi, this was a blast--thank you!
Quote of the Day
--Star editor Joe Dolce, explaining his web site's preperations to serve celebrity videos a la TMZ.com
(via NY Times story)