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Analogy of Status Updates

It’s been some time since I took the SATs but I always enjoyed the “analogy” section of the test.  Okay, as much as a standardized test can be enjoyable, it is up there with using a freshly-sharpened #2 pencil to fill in those little ovals.  If you don’t remember, here’s an example:


(A) oriole : bird

(B) horse : pony

(C) shark : great white

(D) ant : insect

(E) stock : savings

It seems with growing frequency, I’m pulled into conversations regarding Twitter with many who are just now learning about it.  Great Time article on Twitter by the way.  Yes, I get the often “I just don’t get Twitter.”  I used to think that too when I first heard about the service.  I quickly no longer thought that.  But, recently, I get “Why use Twitter when you can just update your status on Facebook?”  And this throws me right back into the 90’s:  “Do you use the internet?” “Oh yes, I use AOL all the time.”  So back to my SAT analogy:

web : AOL :: Twitter status : Facebook status

Remember the walled garden of AOL, how many users would think that was the web, never venturing out into the wild world of the wide web.  Times change but I see history repeating itself.  The struggle and growing awareness of open and closed systems.  There is a tremendous amount of value being generated off the openness of Twitter than is available within Facebook, where your status network can only be as big who you are willing to have in your personal friends’ list.  The same goes for status in LinkedIn and who you are willing to have in your professional connections’ list.  The situation is certainly more complex than AOL of the 90s but strikingly similar.

Been a while…

It’s been a while since my last post.  I’ve been doing some traveling (both business and pleasure) and its kept me from posting as much as I would like.  More importantly, at times I lacked total connectivity which I was beginning to think wasn’t possible and it stopped me from reading as much too.

These infrequent occassions of being sans connection without a mobile device pumping the zeros and ones out in the ether does give you pause to take stock of life (being on a ranch in the middle of Argentina can do it too).  Yes, the connections of Friendfeed, Twitter and Facebook are valuable, are changing the personal and business communication landscape and will continue to do so.   We are building life-long connections and friendships through the medium all the time.  That part I did miss when away.

But remember, there are so many other things just as important.  Like the Giants making a huge splash in free agency with fantastic defensive signings of LB Michael Boley, DT Rocky Bernard and DT/DE Chris Canty!  Okay, just kidding. (sort of)  Friends, family, enjoying a nice day outside, going to the gym and going on vacation when you can.  These are just as important.  If you don’t take the time to unplug, even for a bit, I highly recommend it.

So, anyway, now that I’m back and cycling up again, I feel I’m beginning to catch up on my feeds reading and wanted to drop a little note out here.  Flew threw countless number of feeds and postings today.  The one that struck a cord, the latest Kindle.  The Kindle device is vastly improved but that is not what is important.  The ecosystem shift is important, the Kindle iPhone app and deployment to other mobile phones is important.  To me, it has a similar footprint to the movement of apps on the iPhone itself and what that is doing in the mobile space.

Not going to go into it more here but it is clear that there is a movement taking place that could very well be another major shift in the digital media landscape and in “written” content consumption overall.  Media companies must pay attention.  Steve Rubel has a great post from a couple of days ago discussing this very topic.  If you read only one today, I would recommend that be it.  (Well, that would mean you read two today because you had to read this one just to get to that one. :)

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DataPortability – Please Succeed

If there is one effort taking place on the web that I wish much success in achieving it goals and desired results, it is the DataPortability group.  I’m sure there are others but this is one that is top of mind, and absolutely NEEDS to happen. My friend, Daniela Barbosa, is a major proponent of the initiative and leading much of the effort.

Below is a great video about why we have a major data portability problem on our hands and why data portability is needed. I find myself not wanting to investigate or join some of the last new ventures coming out simply because the thought of entering another userid/password, profile and clicking to follow another set of people (who are the same people) makes my blood boil. The latest example is BackType, great concept, aggregating all of your comments everywhere, even aggregating the aggregating blog comments systems out there like Disqus.  So I went halfway, I sign-up and claimed my profile.  But I am not going to go and follow Scoble, Fred Wilson and Brad Feld yet again.  Twitter, Tumblr, Dopplr, Facebook, Disqus or Intense Debate, etc, etc, etc…  No way.

There are ventures trying to clean this up like openID but it is not happening fast enough. Or I should say it isn’t happening anywhere near as fast as new services are hitting the web. I don’t have any doubt that we are collectively going to get there. The question is when. This can not be one of those topics like the FCC opening the wireless spectrum, the promise of mobility or the nirvana of the digital home that will and does go on for years. It has to happen fast. Without it, if I’m getting frustrated with it, then the services we all sing praises about are never going to cross the chasm into the mainstream.

DataPortability – Connect, Control, Share, Remix from Smashcut on Vimeo.

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NYC Web History 101

Came across this video as I was reading Brad Feld’s blog. Wasn’t at the Web 2.0 Expo NY, I wonder how many web 2.0 conferences (or at least conferences covering the meme) there have been over the past couple of years.Image representing Fred Wilson (financier) as depicted in CrunchBase

Anyway, the keynote by Fred Wilson was an interesting one. If you didn’t work the web during the first online boom, it is a great history lesson. If you did, particularly in a NYC-based company, it is a great stroll down memory lane. The late 90’s was a phenomenal time for the web in NYC with a lot of great lessons, both good and bad. Fred discusses these and the companies that really built the web presence in NY.

I was surprised to hear Fred’s funding analysis regarding the number of early stage investments in NYC start-ups as compared to Silicon Valley. I would never have guessed the numbers were converging at such a rate since the 90s as it is. In fact, I would have guessed that the gap has widened, perhaps it is only the coverage of the start-ups that has widened and remained very Valley-heavy.

Final note, also couldn’t agree more that the term Silicon Alley needs to find its end. Working in the Alley in the late 90’s, it was a cool moniker at first but for some reason always struck me as positioning NYC as “second follow” rather than innovative leader. There is some great innovation coming out of NY, particularly in media and advertising. There is no reason that NYC needs to be tied to the Valley by name, in fact there is no chip developing that I know of happening in NYC so does the name even make sense?

Anyway, great video, recommend a view.

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Twitter Issues, Tissues for Short

Two facts are known through the web and tech community regarding Twitter: 1) It has quickly moved from a simple ‘what are you doing?’ tool to the poster-child of the micro-blogging phenomenon 2) It has been having huge scaling issues which has been causing service outages over the past several months. Both facts have created BIG issues for Twitter (Tissues).

I cannot add anything to the second Tissue, others have blogged about the technology and architectural framework issues that Twitter is experiencing. Ironically, Tim O’Reilly messaged his interest in blog post detailing some hypothesis about Twitter’s issues via a tweet itself. I definitely recommend reading it. Anyway, technology is one major Tissue, let’s leave it at that.

Secondly, micro-blogging has taken hold. This is also a major Tissue. Quite simply, there are so many things in the world you can convey in 140 characters (the character limit that Twitter allows in a single message). Anything you can think of, even notifying others of earthquakes, can fly in seconds over Twitter.  Because of this dynamic, many are shooting their thoughts over Twitter instead of blogging.  I find myself tweeting much more than blogging because I find I can convey much of the thought in two sentences so why ‘go on’ about it.  So we are witnessing a change in human behavior or at least the behavior of early technology adopters, we still must admit most of the world doesn’t blog or tweet.

Anyway, one could argue this dynamic is basically causing Twitter to slowly but surely handle all of the messaging load from every blogging platform out there, a major Tissue. In fact, now even when people blog, they shoot a note out via Twitter that their blog post is posted.  When they use FriendFeed, Tweets are fired out.  When people reply, Tweets are fired out. So Twitter’s success, adoption and use cases is what is causing all of the Tissues to begin with and could lead to Twitter’s downfall, the ultimate irony.

It is this irony that I find the most fascinating of all.  I’m personally rooting for Twitter.

BTW, I could have used Twitter to convey much of this via Twitter instead of blogging. In fact, I did to make a point.  And don’t forget to find my tweet notifying you all that I published this blog post ;).