Category Archives: Blogging

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We finally made the move over to — please join us there to continue the conversation.

We won’t be posting here again.


Bit Part: Social Networks as Social Media

Social networking and social destination sites by and for social networking alone just don’t cut it. People get bored with networking  for networking’s sake: there needs to be a focus point or focal points beyond simply socnet.

Om Malik has glommed onto this thought I had way back in the mists of time, circa August 2005 and now asks: Are Social Networks Just a Feature?

In Yoick’s view, successful web communities have at their core, a set of pursuits or strange attractors – these pursuits work best if they deliver some benefit from interactions between members of a community…the higher the usefulness factor, the more compelling an attractor.

To sum up, I agree with Om. Yoick is essentially building an “integrated community entertainment platform”, a term borrowed from Andrew Littlefiled, CEO of Doppelganger. Within this ICEP, the social networking aspects are critical as part of the community journey, but they are not the sole destination.

Google Life: Who Needs A Second?


Benchmark Capital Partner, Michael Eisenberg, has blogged that Google is (rumored to be) working on turning Google Earth into a virtual world a la Second Life.

Benchmark is an investor in Second Life, so one wonders at Michael’s motivation for raising such a rumor into the blogosphere — godzilla just walked past my 24th floor office window heading north?

Michael notes the language on the Google Earth website – one more step to creating a life-like 3-D model of the whole planet….message to the Googleplex – we’ve already got one earth, so why do we need yet another virtual earth… what we need are better ways to connect, interact, create and share and doing so in 3-D is uber-cool.

Matt Marshall sees such a move by Google as an opportunity for them to act as virtual central bankers. A bit of a stretch, but an interesting one nevertheless.

UPDATE: The GigaOM has more to say on this, pointing to the possibility that Google is working with a company in China to build the avatars.

Widgblogging: it’s more than its content


The New York Times has a piece regarding the rise and rise of widgets and points to what we’re calling Widgblogging – blogs that are predominantly made up of widgets and for which the posted content is relatively peripheral. Widgblogs are, like any mashup, the sum of their parts, and – like any mashup, it’s the mix that determines if the sum resonates with the blog’s readers or not.

 Jeremy Liew, over at Lightspeed Venture Partners, has a great post on the NY Times article. We’ve also Techcraunched Jeremy.

Evan Williams: Jet Packs and Telepathic Blogging -it’s Obvious


We recently caught up with fellow hyper entrepreneur, Evan Williams…and asked him some questions regarding multi-product, sustainable companies (we’ve riffed on this here and here), life, stuff and the future. 

Rand: You’ve done some classic serial entrepreneur stuff, you co-founded Pyra Labs (Blogger) and sold the company to Google, started Odeo, bought your VCs out and founded Obvious – what do you view as your key takeout from your experiences to date?

Ev: Trust your gut. Work hard. Screw up. Get over it. March on.

Rand: Obvious is, from my perspective, an attempt at building a sustainable, multi-product company rather than a single product/app quick flip, or as Ben Barren coins it – a product factory. Tell us a bit about your thought process in deciding to do Obvious, your strategies for success and the landscape you are journeying through.

Ev: Several things led to the thinking behind Obvious. One is that there is now an opportunity to create useful, fun, interesting sites and services that can make money but don’t necessarily require (or, in some cases, deserve) the overhead of a whole company (especially with the expectations of funding and cash-out events).

By building things cheaply and quickly — and sharing overhead, technology, and knowledge where it makes sense — a company that owns many of these sites could be both fun and viable.

Secondly, the web is so crowded these days, some really cool stuff doesn’t get serious attention, because it’s hard to distinguish from other sites and services — or people just don’t know about it. So we hope to create a network of properties, that can both serve as a launchpad for new products and as a way to lower the barrier for new users ( for example, by having their data already available to it, if they so choose).

And third, we wanted to create an environment where wacky ideas could be tried without having to justify or explain them to a board, or investors, or anyone else. Some of them won’t go anywhere. Once in a while, the wacky idea will be just what the people didn’t know they were missing in their lives.

Rand: If we use the film studio analogy, each of your products would presumably have an executive producer. How do you ensure that these folk are imbued with sufficient entrepreneurial fervor so that they embody the best attributes of a startup CEO? 

Ev: I’m not sure yet. I do think the “executive producer” role, as you call it, is key. A lot of people want to pursue lots of ideas, because they can’t constrain themselves to one. The easiest way for us to screw up is to go in too many directions at once and, even if we have good ideas, not be focused enough on them.

Your first assumptions about anything are usually wrong, so you have to find the right balance between throwing things at the wall and seeing if they stick and iterating diligently ’til you get it right. So we want to make sure that the individuals in Obvious, who are leading projects, are able to focus, at least for a significant period of time.

I don’t think a project lead has to have all the same attributes at a startup CEO — they don’t have to worry, for instance, about raising money or many operations issues. But they need to be self-organized, an organizer of others and have excellent product sense.

Rand: How do you see the space playing out over the next 18 months and what will Obvious look like by then? 

Ev: Part of the philosophy behind Obvious is that we have no idea how things are going to play out. No one ever does, really, the difference is we don’t pretend we do.
Rand: Shoot the arrow forward – what’s your view of the future 5 years out? 

Ev: Jet packs and telepathic blogging. Those things are a given. Other than that, I dunno. What seems to stay true is that everything gets more complex and opportunity breeds opportunity. And the things that drive humans to do things don’t change that much: self-expression, convenience, personal gain, human connection (or the approximation thereof) etc. will continue to drive the online world.

There will just be new and more fascinating ways to do everything.

Draper gets Meebo’d


Meebo, which bills itself as a website for instant messaging from absolutely anywhere has raised a Series A funding round of $9 million – anyone recognise a trend in funding we’ve been covering this year — 9 is the number of choice.

This round follows the $3.5 million seed round they raised from Sequoia in December 2005 and Draper Fisher Jurvetson led the round. Venture capitalist extraordinaire, Tim Draper, has joined Meebo’s board.

Stumbleupon: The Blogger’s Long Tail


An experiment conducted by Stephen De Chellis on the effect of bookmarking blog posts across various solutions has produced some revealing results.

First off, Netscape delivered minimal results.

Secondly, and not surprisingly given their marketshare, once the story hit the front page of Digg, digsters flocked to the blog in question.  The third news aggregator used, Stumbleupon, saw healthy initial results, but nothing like the Digg-generated traffic.

The real surprise came a week or so after the blog post when Digg traffic was way down, and Stumbleupon was very healthy.

Stephen concludes….Digg had brought in the highest number of hits, but they were fleeting. A massive wave of people will go from Digg, to your blog and then never return. Netscape? Do I even need to linger on that one? StumbleUpon… there be the long tail for a blogger!