Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Quote of the Day

"The one thing I've learned this year is that there is a real business here."

--Time Inc CEO Anne Moore, explaining in the WSJ that Time's decision to invest heavily in CNN.com, People, SI.com and a few other sites doesn't mean they're too late to the (advertising--and eyeballs)game to succeed.

(Susan sez: Now that ad revenue--and tv-like video--are both moving to the web, Time Inc can step up its content and snag those dollars, but I bet they will end up doing far more syndication of content--and revenue sharing--than they ever anticipated--Or, in other words, will these sites ever again be strong destination for folks under 30--or will their content distribution be the profit center?)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Quote of the Day

"That's old media for ya -- and they say bloggers don't report real news, nor are we journalists.
We lead, they follow.....Yeah, don't credit us old media, but don't think we're not watching you -- *all* of us."

--Blogger violet blue, commenting on how WashPo reporter Brian Krebs used material from a story BoingBoing broke without giving credit or attribution.

(Susan sez: This story has generated alot of sniping....draw your own conclusions, but recognize Bloggers vs. Journalists is a slugfest that hasn't died.

Fortune: Speculating on Yahoo's next moves

Adam Lashinsky in Fortune rings the changes on what Yahoo might could do to make the Street happier--which he says means showing deal momenteum. Lashinsky's top maybes:

Susan sez: I don't agree deal momentum is the answer, not unless it's a great deal, and buying AOL would not fit that in my book. (Buying AOL would be losing the war over 18-34, imho). Also, I'm not sure that what Yahoo needs most are more eyeballs(AOL) or a mature platform(eBay).

Seems to me the game is about great new platforms and products and the audiences they can command (and the new revenue models they can help create). Yahoo is better off, imho, doing that on its own, or making shrewd small-company portfolio buys and then growing those businessness.

(Disclaimer/reminder: I work for YHOO, but not in an area related to any of the above).

Friday, October 27, 2006


Friday links:
Wired: Steve Job's greatest quotes, like "It's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them."
Jason Calcanis: Holding forth in a podcast and donating the bucks to charity.
BizWeek: Digger Jay Adelson advises old farts to remember younger workers "want a mentor, not a taskmaster" and more juicy bits of goodness.
YouTube: KungFu versus Yoga--this little video is beyond priceless!
Six Apart: Vox goes live and open to the planet. Nothing like a new mass market blogging platform with lots of visual details (--can't wait to see the adoption curve on this one.)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Ev Williams buys back his start ups

In the department of now this is cool, ex-Blogger/Googlers Ev Williams (and new partner Biz Stone) have reclaimed start ups Odeo and Twitter from their VC funding, taking back control and starting the obvious corp (no irony there.)
Ev sez: "Nearly everyone I know in the Internet business is either at one of the giants, wishing they were at a startup, or at a startup that hopes get bought by a giant " and goes on to explain that the new company will build small services, make them profitable through ads and suscriptions and then maybe spin them out--in other words--a nice self-funded platform incubator.
On the new web site, the copy says the company was started out of "The desire to create great products that are innovative, beautiful and make a difference to tons of people. And the desire to create an environment for working that is equally innovative in a way that leads to greater success, sustainability, and satisfaction for both the company and its people. "

Susan sez: Seems like those are great motivatives for everyone working in consunmer-focused technology today, where at companies big or small. And yeah, this is cool.

Quote of the Day

"...When there are a million sites to read, a million videos to watch, a million songs to listen to, individuals tailor their choices according to the specifics of their passions. Just a few years ago, as the number of media choices began to grow explosively, this took considerable effort. Today, with the rise of 'viral' distribution techniques, it's a much more straight-forward affair. Although most of us still rely on ad-hoc methods-- polling our friends and colleagues in search of the salient-- it's become so easy to find, filter, and forward media through our social networks that we have each become our own broadcasters, transmitting our own passions through the network."

--VRML creator and kiwi expat Mark Pesce, writing about how the accelerating distribution of user-generated content is shifting attention paradigms (translation: tribal story-telling is back in spades.)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Quote of the Day

"What's clear is that content creators are no longer in control of the content business. That doesn't mean content creators can't make money-- it just means that an increasing portion of every dollar they make will go to Google."

--Publishing 2.0's Scott Karp, explaining why he believes that Google wants to own the business of content--much to detriment of all but the smallest publishers.

Susan sez: Scott links to a MediaPost story that has Google and Yahoo pitching publishers, and much of the rap between the two execs is pretty similar--but I see Google becoming a deleberate--and serial-- disintermediator in a way that underscores Karp's concerns.

Placeblogging gets new start-ups or Local will not die

My friend Lisa Williams is about to launch Placeblogger, an OPML-based aggregator that will be a directory of local blogs--blogs focused on a place, not neccessarily news blogs--around the country.
Now Steve Berlin Johnson, one of the more reflective writers I read, announces that's he's got a stealth local start-up called outside.in--a service that aggregates local news, blogs and other feeds into one handy-dandy destination page (a fulsome example is at 11217--Park Slope, Brooklyn, where Johnson lives)--Palo Alto seems a little, uh bare right now).
Like Backfence, the too-early Bayosphere, and dozens of local news-focused sites like BaristaNet (Montclair, NJ), outside.in will try to generate value for a local community and serve as the starting point and destination.

The difference between outside.in and some of these earlier sites, however, is that rather than serve as a place to create and post content (think stable of writers model) these new sites use feeds, tagging and GEO-URL to create a service that can aggregate and therefore serve as the epicenter of local user generated content--in other words, something more similar to what Topix has been tryng to do with its local local content (see Palo Alto in their planet here and Park Slope here).

Susan sez: It energizes me to see efforts to get local *right* come round and round again as the tools and users evolve. Back in the early mid to late 90s, we did New Jersey Online, a local site with news, forums, and personality, then truly local sites like BaristaNet popped up in the 00s and newspapers improved their skin in the game, and then we got into the citizen journalism thing big time and lots of efforts faltered a bit as others worked--and now here's the latest placeblogging incarnation starting to develop and it is going to be very interesting.

Susan sez 2: The ever-more techy site of me has to point out the intense value of companies like Yahoo supporting their efforts through a rich series of APIs. One obvious implication of these aggregator sites is that the do ride on tools--and APIs- developed by others, so the importance of haing local APIs and making them available to people working at this level is critical. (Imagine if say a big web FooBar business decided to have a rich API and offer it to placebloggers and the placebloggers all created local APIs driving back to that business and just think how much that business might gain in distribution and referral if all these emerging hyperlocal bloggers picked the feed up...and...you get the drill.)

And then of course there is the business woman part of me which is constantly interested in how to support local, targeted advertising--the sweet spot of all this growth.

So, the ever-shifting continuance of local and the rise of placeblogging are great--and may a thousand flowers--and many more placeblogs--flourish.

BONUS: Steve has some points about placeblogs worth repeating:
1. It's all about hyperlocal.
2. A post can be local, even if the blogger isn't (and therefore worth aggregating)
3. Neighborhoods are more important that maps.
4. Geo-tags and location-aware tags are good, but it's also important to have other filters-- date, for example.
5. Local news often has a long-shelf life.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Google launches customizable and social search tool to sit on users' sites

So Google announced that it's releasing a social search engine that can sit on blogs and other web sites and that can be customized in terms of the search index and the results look and feel. Gee, sounds alot like Eurekster's Swicki (disclosure: I consulted on this product.) Also sounds like the always-fun Rollyo and a tad like A9's open search. (And also, like Yahoo's custom search tools, the product allows a high degree of customization.)

So what makes this social search? Hmmn, it's the feature that allows the site owner to empower friends, colleagues, community to contribute links to the search index, thereby customizing the results (just like Swicki does.)

What's interesting here is not only does the feature allow users to create customized views of search for their community/web site, it effectively creates a form of social search that could turn out to be very equivalent to Yahoo's MyWeb, assuming the data from these customized products is reaggregated and then distributed across Google search results as a seperate data set. For example, imagine that the Harley community blog rings all implemented this feature and built a rich list of preferred links to integrate into results--and then Google could take that data and highlight at the top of the search results as a social media alternative to relevancy.

Mike Arrington points out that "Google is also offering, as an option, to bundle the service with Google Adsense ads and share revenue with websites that embed the custom search engine into their site." Eurekster does that as well, and I wonder whether this monetization will be an incentive to adoption.

Susan sez: This is a cool feature, but it's not a new one. The fact it disintermediates smaller companies--the Rollyos and Eureksters--to start--is creepy. Sure, it's the law of the marketplace, but it suggests how much Google has broadened--or hardened?-- its focus to not only aspire to be a first mover, but to try to be a category crusher.

(And of course as a Yahoo I get that this is also a direct swack at Yahoo search--but that is so out of my realm in terms of areas of focus at work I am not even going to bother to go there except to say Yahoo Search has its own good stuff going on.)

Bonus:Wink list of early Google Customer Search engines, aka CSES.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Techcrunch: Morning must read on event-driven social networks

Over at TC, Steven Poland's got a good overview of online services that incorporate event listings, social networks and match-ups (as in who else is going to this and i need a date) into one package. On the list:

Steve did leave out one of my very personal favorites---BayAreaLinkup--which has branches in several cities and is very effective--and full of people--but if you are interested in calendaring, social networks, online dating or any flavor of these--Poland's post is a nifty must-read.

Quote of the Day

"Dream big. Imagine there existed a budget of $100 million to purchase copyrights to be made available under a free license.

What would you like to see purchased and released under a free license? Photos libraries? textbooks? newspaper archives? Be bold, be specific, be general, brainstorm, have fun with it."

--Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, inviting discussion of how Wikipedia might spend some cash.

(Via slashdot)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Quote of the day

"I don?t believe there is a scenario whereby we could have an independent AOL. I think we would be bought as fast as we could draw up the papers."

--AOL chief Jonathan Miller, quoted in a Sunday Telegraph (UK) on the much discussed possible demerger of AOL and Time Warner, also known as getting the Jonah off the boat.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Quote of the Day 2

"Who the heck wants to be a voyeur, paid or otherwise, on a dating site when we have Girls Gone Wild on Myspace?"

--Dave Evans, Online Dating Insider, writing on how online dating services, well, uh, aren't cutting it for him.

Quote of the Day 1

"I mean if the DMVs around the country can make hundreds of millions of dollars selling vanity license plates, why shouldn't Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft or AOL (Time Warner)?"

--Michel Parekh, writing on the revenue potential of enhanced ego surfing

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Dave Evans: What's wrong with online dating sites

Corante's Dave Evans gets so many things right in a recent post on online dating sites and how they could do so much better (his wording is less polite).

Some of the points Dave makes that ring so true for me:

One of the reasons I joined Y!P is because I'm fascinated by what social media and premium services can look like joined together; another is that I am--post-divorce--single--and of course that means I've used all these sites (and yeah, they can all be a lot better.)

So Dave, keep the great ideas coming..you're really paying attention in a most appreciated way.

Quotes of the Day

"Moving forward, we are going to be laser-focused on these three core things:

--Terry Semel, speaking on Yahoo's earnings call yesterday , discussing both the Q3 drop in profit and the strong- go-forward plans.

"We continued to experience strong growth in the third quarter, albeit at a slower rate than we expected a few months ago."

--Yahoo CFO Sue Decker, on the same call .

Source: Seeking Alpha (Thanks, David)

Susan sez: It was great to be on campus and have Panama release at the same time the execs talked about some softness in the quarter. Everyone has been waiting for this release. Now iteration One is live.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Quote of the Day

" I don't think there's much VC money that would want to back a conventional magazine."

--Former Conde Nast editorial director James Truman, explaining why he was leaving LBT Media right after creating the first issue of 'Culture & Travel' a new magazine for them, in order to start his own media company, probably something more like the just funded PopSugar.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Quote of the Day

"If you have a great established brand like Apple, or a great new product, like an iPod, then sure, let people run away with your brand, because most people will say good things about it and encourage other people to use it. But if you have a problematic brand like Wal-Mart or GM, where a lot of people think your product/service is socially irresponsible, for example, then letting people control your brand is going to perpetuate your image problem. The only real solution is to improve your product or service-- which is a lot harder than vague notions of 'conversation.'"

--Scott Karp, Publishing 2.0 blogger, ruminating on how the fact PR giant Edelman created a "fake blog" for client Wal-Mart--and got caught--is symptomatic of a larger shift in corporations trying --and failing-- to control popular opinion in an instant-communication world.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Quote of the Day

"We're doing something that is novel for Time Inc. Our bloggers will be directly remunerated on the basis of their traffic. They'll be paid a modest CPM. Time Inc. will sell advertising on the individual blogs. So the bloggers will get to participate in the revenue they generate. "

--Josh Quittner, Business 2.0 editor, explaining why 20+ staffers will follow former 2.0 staffer Om Malik's lead and do daily blogs as part of the parent product set.

Susan sez: Quittner is upfront about wanting to capitalize on blogosphere opportunities to grow relevancy, traffic and the brand, so kudos on that, but it also suggests his tacit acknowledgement that monthly print magazines are losing both the battle and the war.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Quote of the Day

"You can try to hold the world in place so your life continues to make sense, but the world is too big and you're too small, change comes, eventually, no matter how much you think it shouldn't."

--Dave Winer, musing on change in media --and everything else

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Quote of the Day

"I used to be like Susan. I was generally aware, but didn't actually read the news. Then I started dating someone last year who works at the U.N., and she made me feel stupid for not actually reading the front section of the NYT. Turns out, those vestiges of the past -- those NYT journalists and editors -- are giving voice to people and issues who wouldn't have it otherwise."

-- Meetup founder Scott Heiferman, writing on my comments on the Googe-YouTube deal. (Scott wants to make sure I realize "that many of those millions of dollars spent by the NYT are on reporters and writers who uncover vital truths about the world in absolutely essential ways." )

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Quote of the Day

"Google is now the archetypal media company ? online video is just the next step in their quest to monetize the world?s content through advertising. The challenge for Google is that video ads are at the opposite end of the annoying/consumer-hating spectrum from text ads.(snip)
Google?s acquisition of YouTube is also the final step in the orphaning of content creation, which now exists completely separate from content distribution and monetization. "

--Scott Karp, writing in Publishing 2.0, in a scary but brilliant post on the deal of the moment.

Google and Yahoo and Facebook and everybody else--Impacts of the GTube deal

Om Malik has a good post this morning called Goobed in which he talks about how wrong he was about the Google-YouTube deal and asks if this means Yahoo will "make a move"--which I take to mean buy Facebook, given the rumors in the press. (Note here: When it comes to corporate stuff like this, I don't have a clue, this is my idle speculation.)
It's interesting to speculate on what the big players might feel impelled to do in terms of their own roll up of either social media sites or video search engines and platforms.
Some guesses:
Microsoft will do nothing on the social network side of things....but might buy a tech company like...???
AOL will say they did it all already, go in a different direction and decide to buy, say, dabble.com or ourmedia.org.
The big media companies without a video platform will start looking around in a panic--I predict one of them--maybe The New York Times?--will acquire Brightcove.
CNET, never one to miss a trend, will acquire something small and then leverage it. Reuters will consider doing the same--but will hold off.

The point here is that lots of big players--or want to be big players--will feel the need to respond to the GTube deal with a move of their own--but it won't always be the best fit. Or, to put it another way, the issues around the deal that each company feels threatened by will vary widely.

And of course, what this does is send the message that not only is social networking a big thing--as in major mainstream--but user-uploaded video (and notice I said uploaded, not created) is a huge thing, going mass market with a vengeance, at least until the copyright wars hit.

And do I think Yahoo will buy Facebook? Oddly enough, while I don't have a clue, Google's purchases of of YouTube would make me, if I was on the deal team look very cautiously to make sure I was putting my (big) money in exactly the right place,.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Paradigm shift: What Google didn't buy

I started the day reading about how TechCrunch's Mike Arrington felt attacked by the journalists at the Online News Association conference, and ended it hearing that Google had indeed bought YouTube for $1.65 billion in do no evil stock.

That news got me thinking about what Google mighta coulda bought with their money and didn't, and I got to asking myself where the paradigm shift was in that.

For instance, with that kind of dough, Google could have bought the New York Times Company. I remember talking with Timesman Martin Nisenholtz about how the NYTimes was one of the biggest consumers/placements for Google AdWords, right behind the big portals as they were still called then, Yahoo and AOL (this must have been late 2004.) Nisenholz felt that the Times had to find a way to roll up in size, and not soon after, they bought About.com.
Presumably, if Google was looking for a property that they could own to place their own AdWords on, they could have considered buying The New York Times. But no--they didn't, did they--and the decision to spend all this money on YouTube shows that the coffin nails of mainstream media are already strewn across the open grave (Yes, I am feeling poetic tonight, that kind of day).

The amazing miracle of YouTube versus The Times, as everyone reading this blog surely already knows, is that YouTube is a platform where cream--user-uploaded videos--rises the the top, to be savored by the world, while The New York Times Company is an information organization that pays thousands of journalists, designers, business people and administrative types millions of dollars to create expert content that tells people what to think and what to like. And honey, that day is passing fast.

Even though YouTube has copyright issues to work out, and no established revenue model (yet), it's the kind of social media platform that is quickly--for better or worse--claiming the attention of people who once turned to newspapers, cable TV and online news--just a few years ago--but who are now making user-generated content--and fan-uploaded music videos---a focus of their time.

Further, after a year in operation, YouTube reportedly has 50MM users worldwide, while after 100+ years in operation, the NYTimes has what, 20MM(12 MM registered, plus another 8...)

In terms of traffic and popularity, YouTube had 12.699 million visitors in May 2006, according to a recent MediaMetrix press release. Seeking Alpha reports that the NYTimes had 29 million visitors a month in March 2006 and ranked No. 56 in web traffic. (The revenue for the entire company in that period was $832 million.)

Do you wonder which business had better margins? Anyone want to guess the Times? (Thought not.)

The point here--just to kick it a little harder--is that this is yet more evidence how social media platforms that are shifting the paradigms in a profound way--Not only does YouTube have a mass market, it's video on the web appeal that the more high-brow Times will never have (Is YouTube the next MTV?). Furthermore, it's a platform that gives Google the opportunity to morph into a multimedia MySpace ecosystem, way beyond what Orkut could ever be--and most cruelly, it's something that teens and twenty-somethings care about, which may no longer be the case for The New York Times.

So Google bought YouTube, not a media company, and the fact that doesn't even surprise anyone one anymore and that it makes perfect sense, that, dudes, is a paradigm shift.


Ad Age: ReadyMade magazine/web site/crafting empire is bought by Meredith Publishing, publisher of Better Homes & Gardens. (Susan sez: Good move--now Meredith can target crafty 20-somethings--and their grandmothers.)

Online News Association conference: Staci Kramer reports on how talking heads slog it out. Mike Arrington was there and feels he was attacked.(Note to Mike: I was there last year and not only does the talk seem much the same, it seems not so different than the talk five years ago. And yes, you sound like the sacrifice...)

CityVoter's got an online platform for local business display and classified advertising that turns into a nifty directory filled with user generated ratings--and it just got $1MM from Tudor Ventures (via Paid Content.)

Quote of the Day

"The three things that were disturbing were, one, how quick it was: two, how different she was from my mother. And three, how happy my father was. It was like he was a new man. Like he was totally liberated by my mother's death. That was really disturbing. Who is this guy, going around expressing himself and looking so happy? And saying 'I love you' all the time? Have you been this way all the time? Is this the real you? And if so, what happened?"

--Filmmaker Doug Block, author of the new documentary 51 Birch Street, describing how his father's immediate remarriage after his mother's death prompted him to explore his parents' history and led to a film exploring their 50-year relationship.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Quote of the Day

"There's a canyon-sized gap between what company heads say they want (brave, bold, innovative) and what their own middle management seems to prefer (yes-men, worker bees, team players). "

--Kathy Sierra, writing a take no prisoners post on how non C-level managers inadvertently knock out employees' exuberance and passion to to learn, grow, adapt, and innovate--to find out why this happens, read her super smart post (and find out what the zombie function is).

Update: Commentator Veronica Combs says C-level exes make middle managers this way--because they want their middle managers to behave "just like zombies." Good point- this is about managers in general and the gap between saying and doing--thanks, Ms. Combs.

Marathon update: Yes, I did it--and I am still walking

So I did my first half marathon this am. It was the first ever San Jose Rock ' Roll Marathon--and it was filled with thousands of people--from elite runners seeking to qualify to families with small kids to then thousands of plain ol'walkers, like me.
It was 13.1 miles, folks, and I did'em in 3 hours and 40 minutes, about exactly what I was going for. --And best of all, I can still walk (okay, I am hobbling a little...)

Although there are millions of people who run, and although I did Bay to Breakers and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Run/Walk this year, doing this big half-marathon was a thrill..and Ms. Compulsive here is now definitely hooked.

Thanks go to the friends and family who were so supportive, starting with my training partner, David, and friends Jennie, Nava, Stacy, Anna, Lori, Randy and Laura and the Urban Dog Walkers, who all helped me keep moving, one way or another.

This was a high point..and hopefully, the first of many races.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Marathon this weekend

So this was a bad week for walking.
Too much going on at work.
(We are getting ready to ship some cool stuff, which feels so good).
But I didn't get my 20+ miles in.
And I have to walk 13 in minus 4 hours on Sunday.
Well, I will definitely be walking end of today--and probably cycling or cross-training some other way tomorrow.
And Sunday...that's it..the day I've been working for (walking toward?).
I'll let everyone know if I can still walk after I get (hobble?) across the finish line.
(And yes, I am now hooked...)

WALLOP & Spending real dollars to decorate a virtual world

We all know about the virtual gamers who spend real world money on getting their character to the next level, or purchasing all sorts of virtual goods. And we know there are Second Lifers putting themselves through art school selling digital art. But even still, the idea more casual folk--like social network users--might spend any coin on virtual tokens is something many people I know don't buy into,
That's what makes the beta of Wallop, Karl Jacob's new whizzy social network site pretty interesting(note: this is a Microsoft (MSFT) Research Labs spin off.) Wallop, where I just got an account (thanks, Kurt!) imagines that users will want to buy stuff to trick their spaces out--just like they do on CyWorld, the Korean social network site, where members spend about $125 million annually on virtual goods. (In the virtual-game world, $900 million or so is spent a year on stuff.)
It will be interesting to see if spending real money catches on at Wallop like it has in Ultima Online or Second Life--my guess is yes--I think virtual currencies--in the right settings-are a no-brainer.

(Via Bambi Francisco)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Quote of the Day

"We don't want to make movies. We're about to get into television. As far as Lucasfilm is concerned, we've moved away from the feature film thing because it's too expensive and it's too risky. I think the secret to the future is quantity."

--Filmmaker and StarWars creator George Lucas, quoted in Variety explaining his belief that in the future most filmed narratives will be downloaded as pay per view.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Quote of the Day

"I learned that inspiration might be the world's only renewable energy source and it scales like a motherfucker."

--Yahoo Hack Day organizer Chad Dickerson, recounting how he and his team mobilized people to make Hack Day happen.

Bonus Chad quote: "The best thing about Hack Day is that when it was over, I went back to normal life --working alongside the same people who made it happen."

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

UK Data points: The Mobile Life Youth Report 2006

"When is mobile going to have a business model?" is something I hear (or say myself) every time I think about developing more services for mobile platforms.

A newly released report from the UK, The Mobile Life Youth Report 2006 , suggests that in Britain that future is coming, like, real soon. Some of the greatest hits stats from the report, which surveyed 1,258 kids ages 11-17 (and their parents) about their mobile phone use:

As for the US, are we there yet? Aside from ringtones and entertainment, are premium services in place? Folks, educate me here.

(Via, of course, Smart Mobs)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

HackDay: Thoughts on how Yahoo got there and what it all means

Would Yahoo's Hack Day have happened without the lessons of Burning Man, BarCamp, OpenSpace and Foo Camp?

Driving over to Hack Day yesterday, I was thinking about how Yahoo got to the place where everyone was thrilled how 300+ non-staffers and a bunch of Yahoos spent the weekend camping on the lawns, coding in the classrooms, and hanging--uh, taking over--the big cafeteria --So thrilled that much of the senior senior product team for Yahoo was there as well, groovin' along with the cool kids.

But I think there was more to it--and the (possible) reasons Hack Day came to be are worth a post:

Of course, first there was the fact (internal) Hack Day leader Chad Dickerson got a new job heading the Yahoo Developer Network and needed to do something cool to expose all Yahoo's APIs.

Then there was the fact that internal Hack Day worked amazingly well--but then there were some other forces that might not immediately come to mind that are implicit, not explicit, and they have to do with the influence of :

Burning Man:
Burning Man has taught us all in the Valley the power of a gift economy, even if we've never been to the playa. Those lessons have helped drive the power of open source and open source and open APIs drive mash-ups and hacking. There is a direct (tribal) line between going to Burning Man and spending the weekend mashing with your (extended) community.

BarCamp and Foo Camp :
These events are about assembling influencers and passionate users/coders to meet up and create. Both BarCamp and Foo Camp drive home the lessons that it's the people that matter . Both also remind us that we are more creative, more innovative--and more successful--when we don't have to work in a vacuum, when like-minded people in similar tasks are nearby.
Yahoo Hack Day was all these things.

Another--a Bar Camp/Foo Camp lesson--is that it doesn't have to be fancy to have power.
Forget the hotel meeting rooms, the hot lunches--pizza and tents can get it done--so long as you have reliable wifi and a secure network, as Yahoo Hack Day did.

Open Space
It's also about how people relate from a peer to peer, bottoms up perspective where they get to shape the agenda. OpenSpace conference planning has played a strong role, IMHO, in creating that receptive environment. (What is Open Space? It is a method of groups working collaboratively based on learning how to listen to one another and plan based on what's needed--Kaylia Hamlin--identity woman- used this method most effectively for the mashup camp sessions in July 06--but it's a format taking hold through much of the (innovative) tech community and one that helped Hack Day self-create within the structure YDN fostered. ) Yahoo's Hack Day was very OpenSpace in how fluidly teams assembled and hacks took place.

From the edge to the core
Another way to look at Y! Hack Day is how Yahoo Hack Day exemplifies how the edges move to the center, the core when they reach a certain critical mass.
Burning Man, Bar Camp, etc. started off as grass roots alternatives, new communities of interest, if you will--but over time they have moved to the center--and as they have shifted, they have broadened our thinking on what is core. The concept of hacking as a creative--not a destructive--act has also moved from the edge to the core--and Yahoo's taken heed.

Susan sez: The vision of innovation and creativity in the Burning Man, Bar Camp and Hack Day is exactly what (I think) Yahoo is hungry for--so having this first open campus event is not only one way to foster creativity--it's a way to build on --and learn from--what's come before.

Note: The opinions in this post are my speculations, and not based on internal data or conversations with anyone on staff at Yahoo or involved this planning this event. Just in case inquiring minds wanted to know.

Happy with Hack Day

Watching demos at Hack Day. What an amazing event!
Tons of photos on flickr--a managable set to scan are here (from Laughing Squid's Scott Beale).
Posting more thoughts later tonight.

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