Saturday, September 30, 2006

HackDay: Feeling the Love

Yahoo Hackday was amazing last night..heading back now, post 10 mile walk (marathon next week).
Chad, Bradley, Ash, Matt and everyone--wow.

Friday, September 29, 2006

(Another) Quote of the Day

"I do not believe that social network sites are able to sustain lots of conflicting social contexts. Or, rather, i don't believe that they can continue as a hang-out space. I know that Facebook will continue to grow but i believe that the core value of it will be lost for the sake of growth."

--danah boyd, writing about the ever-commercializing Facebook.

Quote of the Day

"It's not just that people are arriving on big, anonymous campuses, but the homes these kids are coming out of are more isolated. One of the problems in American society today is that people don't eat together anymore. It's the whole bowling alone thing, and co-ops are one of the few places where people can really come together."
--Jim Jones, former executive director of the North American Students of Cooperation , and a historian of trends in communal living, discussing the rise on co-op, or communal living, on campuses, in an article in the NY Times.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Newspaper Next: Talk, not action

The American Press Institute's released their $2 million dollar study --called Newspaper Next--of what newspapers should do to save themselves in a digital world and the two big insights look like they are Think local and Cooperate amongst yerselves. In a USA Today story, the API folks say familiar things like
"Newspaper websites (collectively) have a substantial user base that can be competitive with Internet giants, including Google and Yahoo."
and offer think like a marketer advice that is death to newsrooms but good for business, like the statement "What are people trying to get done in their lives? Where do they look for solutions?" as a filter for making newspaper product development decisions.

For someone like me, who spent years in online news, and then went off to more web-based companies, this report has the familiar ring of--well, the (heart-felt)tried and true.

I do want online editions of newspapers to succeed, for many reasons, but it's been more than ten years since Jeff Jarvis, Peter Levitan and I started New Jersey Online, and alot of the newspaper industry messages--the shoulds--of what these companies can do to improve--haven't changed much since then.

Having said that, I love local, I love community, I think that digital media, tools and services are here to stay and evolve and that new markets are (perpetually) to be made. I just question whether reports like this offer fresh thinking or--more importantly--products and tools to move the needle.

So, here's another thought:
What if the API had spent that 2 million to develop an open source product--like a self-serve advertising platform--or a local listings product--that all their members could use?
Would that have affected more change than another report?
And actually solved some problems?
Isn't this report the embodiment of the problem online newspaper businesses face--that there's way more talk than there is action?
Look at the open source software movement, people--and get a clue.

Heading for Hack Day in Sunnyvale

Yahoo's first external Hack Day is tomorrow, and I am psyched at taking part. First of all, the idea of Yahoo embracing something so close to the BarCamp and/or Open Space model is cool; secondly, the idea of taking a process that's been embraced internally and then opening it up to the world, well, that is cool as well, a new spin on open source hacking, if you will.
I am not sure who is going to be there, but there are a couple of folks I am psyched about attending--my friend Salim Ismail is going to be there and my friend Robert Mao-who is a social media entrepeneur from China--is also taking part(and I hope it blows his agile mind.) And of course Mike Arrington is MC'ing--which will be fun in itself.
Most of all, though, I hope we get some really interesting mash-ups and hacks out of this--that's what can be the most valuable--to see what all these smart minds do with various APIs and other tools/data sets.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

WSJ reporter targets online dating--hmmm

"The majority of undateables are hardly what most people would consider poor prospects. They're not liars or criminals, but eligible single men and women who are being sidelined by the system. They're hitting the wrong note by listing hobbies that scream shut-in _ fantasy football for men, scrapbooking for women, or by including shots with their heads obscured by skydiving helmets."
--WSJ reporter Ellen Gamerman, in a story on being *popular* on online dating sites.

Susan sez: What did my grandmother say--there's someone for everybody, you just have to find them? Seems to be the most important issue about online dating services is whether you can met someone you like, connect with them, and see what happens in the real world--When it comes to actual online dating, this piece, researched as it is, seems more mythic than actual to me....there are great bits of advice on how to do a good profile (shameless plug) but on-site popularity just isn't a critical factor for people looking for a genuine fit.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Weekend update aka the walking blues

Marathon in 2 weeks.
Monday, 1 mile
Tuesday, 1.5 miles
Wednesday, 4 miles (and at 7 am no less)
Thursday, 3.5 miles
Saturday, 8 miles,
Sunday, 3 miles
total: 21 miles

The new Tribe--MySpace for Grownups!

Okay, it's 2004.
Everyone is into local citizen media.
There's this web site,, that is filled with Burners and alternative groups.
Question of the minute becomes: How do we take this service and make it local and mainstream and make money off it somehow?
The answer never quite jells.

Okay, so now it's 2oo6 (like, right now).
Everyone is into myspace clones.
There's this web site,, that is filled with Burners and alternative groups.
The founder buys it back and tells the alt folk--hey, this is yours, dudes!
Question of the moment--How many of you all alternative over 25s wanna go play at Tribe, the (potential) new myspace for grown-ups?

(Susan sez: Three newspapers invested in back in the community days, then Mark bought it back. Wouldn't it be a hoot if Mark makes it work as a myspace alternative (and he totally can) and then someone else acquires it as their social media/network play?)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Quote of the Day

"The bed is where they found privacy and were able to leave behind the distractions and separate interests that keep them apart during the day. There's also something about late night that allowed them to open up and connect....even though we may take sleeping with our partner for granted, it's through these kinds of shared social systems that we build and nurture our relationships, and perhaps uncover the underlying meaning of our lives."

--Paul C. Rosenblatt , professor and author of People Who Share A Bed anf the Things They Say About It, a new study about couples and sleeping *rules* in a relationship, or how "sharing a bed impacts our lives and sense of well-being"-- in a story in the NY Times

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Quote of the Day

"I believe that men consider extreme circumstances such as commune start-up building to be a bonding experience. However, putting Lisa, Elisa, and I in a single apartment for six months with only one bathroom and Top Ramen would result in one or all of us being committed to an institution."

--BlogHer founder Jory Des Jardins, writing about how women running start-ups have a different energy and style than some of the guys. (Note: This post is both wise and hilarious, gotta click.)

(Via Scripting News)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Weekend update: 15 miles and then some

Okay, the keep the hands off the keyboard for at least 36 hours weekend went pretty well:
--Walked 11 miles Saturday, 3 miles Sunday
--Saw friends, a bunch of movies, did errands
--Rested and overcame a potential cold
--Refreshed myself for what is going to be a very busy week

(Susan sez: Yes, I am a high-energy person, reading this list over, it makes me my world, all this activity is relaxing.)

Nail Kennedy: RSS and secure feeds

One of the frontiers no one has really crossed yet is a wide-spread standard for securing RSS feeds--AKA restricted access feeds--and it's a feature that needs to go into wider distribution.
Niall Kennedy has a tremendous post up about RSS feeds and secure access that is a must read if this stuff rocks your boat.
More on this later.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Dogster gets funding--why?

Ted Rheingold's labor of social network love, dogster, round of angels investors including Michael Parekh, Joshua Schachter, Adam Beguelin, Michael Tanne, Jim Young, Mike Jones, George Sarlo, Frank Caufield, Aydin Senkut, Robert Simon, Brad Feld, and Jeff Clavier.
One might ask why, but the answers make a lot of sense:
1) What are the connector tools for people who don't want to use myspace and whose interest isn't job-related--and who don't blog?
2) How does someone more mainstream figure out how to navigate all these big, ill-defined social networking sites--in other words, how does Joe Average over 35 make sense of Yahoo 360, orkut, flickr, etc? (In other words, they don't).
dogster--and the multiples it will spawn--will be a quick and easy way for users to share info and photos about their passion--pets--and use online to organize offline--aka the real world.
And why stop there?
Simple, huh?
Damn skippy.

Friday, September 15, 2006

(Priceless) Quote of the Day 2

I?m very hands-on. During the launch of, we had a conference call every day for four months, and I was in every one. I even called in on my vacation from a yacht in Greece."

--AOL Vice Chairman Ted Leonsis describing to the NYTimes how he will step down from an AOL management role in December 2006 order to "get a little more balance in his life."

Susan sez: The AOL board brought Ted back into an active role in 2002, when things were really bad (IMHO). One of the great things about Ted is what a champion he is of ideas and people he believes in--a rare commodity at a company in free-fall, which is what AOL was at the time-- Another is his ability to weave compelling stories--a trait he has used well, not only in spinning things with the press, but in easing the troubled minds of stressed executives wondering how far down to the the bottom AOL had to go and when the climb back up would begin.

Quote of the Day 1

"When you've got a bunch of money and you've hired a lot of people and you're talking to your board and you're talking to reporters, your gut can get drowned out."

--Odeo CEO and Blogger founder Ev Williams, describing his start-up pitfalls at The Future of Web Apps conference

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Quote of the Day

"This is a big horse entering the race. It's an ambitious agenda, but it makes sense. Local online advertising is the final frontier for everybody."

--Borrell analyst Colby Atwood, , commenting on Hilary Schneider's appointment as SVP of a new Marketplaces unit at Yahoo in ClickZ story

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Reorged! Hilary Schneider joins Yahoo as Marketplaces SVP

So the announcement was made that Hilary Schneider is joining Yahoo to be SVP for a new Marketplaces group that will include Autos, Classifieds, HotJobs, Personals, Real Estate, Shopping & Auctions, Travel and Yellow Pages. Hilary will be my boss's boss, and will report to CFO Sue Decker.
I am psyched by the news--Hilary did amazing things at Knight Ridder, and was a force for change at Red Herring, her previous company. Yahoo's getting a powerful, shrewd executive in Hilary--this is going to be an interesting ride.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

New and noted relaunches, all new, shiny and loaded with social media.,watch out.
Howard Rheingold announces the DIY Media Weblog, a blog about participatory media sponsored by Annenberg. rolls out a local site in Sunnyvale, CA. rolling in behind Palo Alto and San Mateo,
Danah Boyd: Facebook's "Privacy Trainwreck": Exposure, Invasion, and Drama
And how about that lonelygirl15?

Keoki Andrus: Turning high potential into high performance

How do you built a great, empowered organization?
Steve Hardy points to a preso by Keoki Andrus from Intuit, which expresses these principals, among others:
Ten Ways to Build Passion
10. See greatness in those around you and share your vision
9. Express constructive feedback in terms of "the vision"
8. Believe that things can be different and approach the improbable with optimism
7. Set high standards for performance and hold EVERYONE accountable
6. Demonstrate courage, judgement, risk-taking and continuous improvement in your own performance
5. Recognize and celebrate success
4. Design growth experiences that stretch but don't break people
3. Invest in trust and even love
2. Respond maturely to failures and setbacks
1. Push power and decision making down

Does your boss do this? Do you?

(Via Caterina Fake, via Steve Hardy)

Quote of the Day

"Gen Yers - 18- to 26-year-olds who came of age with broadband, cell phones, and iPods, among other things -stand apart from older generations because of their hands-on approach to the Web.
Marketers trying to anticipate future consumer trends should tune in to Gen Yers. As these do-it-yourselfers become a primary consuming audience, they will carry with them their cross-channel shopping enthusiasm, active blog usage, and reliance on the information-scouring powers of Google."
--Forrester analyst Charlene Li, writing in a white paper, "The State Of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark 2006 about why social media and user generated content are here to stay (especially in multimedia formats).

Bonus data point: Charlene says:"24% of Gen Yers read blogs, which is twice as often as the 12% of Gen Xers (ages 27-40) and three times the 7% of Young Boomers (ages 41-50) that read blogs."

Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering September 11, 2001

I worked for AOL in Dulles and NYC, and I lived in California.
Don't ask how it worked out that way but it did.
I was 4 days into my new job, and watching TV in the hotel when the plane hit the first tower around 9:30 am.
I remember thinking it had to be an accident, and then realizing it wasn't.
And then, as the other plane hit the second tower, realizing something terrible was happening.
I was in the taxi heading to AOL when I heard the Pentagon had been hit.
I worried that the US was about to get bombed, and the DC area would be hit--and I'd die, or be trapped.
Very soon after I came to the office, they sent us home.
Only home was a hotel room, so I went to the AOL newsroom to help out.
Jim Brady and others had just about moved in, AOL was building message boards and communication tools like mad.
For three days, I helped out in the newsroom.
There was no way to get home to California, and while my family was okay, I was far away from them.
Later that week, AOL charted two jets to fly the Californians home.
The plane was so full we had to stop and refuel in Salinas, Kansas, where the local paper discussed the terrorism threat.
By the time I got home to my family, I was thrilled they'd been safe on the left coast, and exhausted by what had happened.
A week later, I got on a plane again to go to my job in Dulles.
All that year, I commuted.
Every time I flew, I thought about September 11th.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

News: Rojo bought by SixApart

At 10 am today, Six Apart announced it's acquired Rojo, the newsreader company Kevin Burton, Mark Graham, Chris Alden and I started back in 2003 and that Chris has continued to run and grow.
Chris will run Moveable Type, and SixApart will keep the IP but actually look to sell stakes in the newsreader once the transaction is completed.

Congrats, everyone.

Update: Niall's said what I didn't have time to add in--some of the whys--
"The acquisition gives Six Apart both a feed reader and feed search engine. Rojo will help generate more pageviews, allowing Six Apart to further leverage its newly created advertising network covering LiveJournal Plus accounts and Vox."

Quote of the Day

"...On wednesday, I will walk up to one end of a long line of men. Sometimes there are women, but it's always mostly men. They are there to watch me, and I am there to be watched. I start at one end, smile at the first man I encounter, and begin. Slowly. Carefully, I take off my glasses and fold them neatly, just like my nighttime bedroom ritual. Then I lean over and unzip one long black platform boot, and then the other. I present each piece of footwear as proof -- as if the sudden shortness in my height, and its message of vulnerability isn't evidence enough."

--Blogger and personality Violet Blue, writing about how being searched in airports can be imagined as a form of *pornographic * power exchange, a concept very amusing to someone (me) who's just flown cross country

Saturday, September 02, 2006


As in, I have been doing a lot of it the past few weeks.
4 miles today, 3 miles the day before, 10 miles planned for tomorrow.
It started with signing up to do the San Jose Rock n Roll marathon, and it's turning into that relaxing hour I look forward to at the end of the day (with longer walks on the weekends).
Thinking about doing a couple more half-marathons, and a full marathon this coming summer.
It says alot about me that it is so much easier to get into a regular exercise routine when there is a tangible event as a goal....Making sure I can walk those 13 miles in October in under 4 hours has been a great focusing device.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Quote of the Day

"....the stuff about Myself is about carnage and living through it. it's about the nightmare that was about my girlhood. it's about surviving incest and beatings (losing half of my hearing after being slammed against a wall) and the loss of dignity, of grace (oh, the irony of my name) its about dark and scary beasts, running from them, often getting caught, sometimes being eaten alive.

do i talk about all that in front of 700 people, a few of them my friends, but most strangers. do i pull out the beasts and nightmares from my pocket, open my outstretched hand and point a little girl finger (with a nail bitten down to the quick) to this ?"

--Grace Davis, State of Grace, writing about speaking about herself and her vision at BlogHer and how the long distances we travel to be present in the world often are invisible

(Note: More and more, I find myself drawn to the true voices blogging allows people to share, to the heartfelt stories and common threads of what we all struggle through, survive, and (hopefully) learn from. The courage to share those truths is not to be discounted. )

Susan #3--Sweet!

Yahoo Search just jiggered their search results, and whatever the results are overall, the new algos have put my blog up in the top of their search results--I'm the #3 Susan on the list. (And Google must have worked some magic as well--I am #3 Susan there as well!)

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