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When a Picture is 480 Words

This morning I had one of those moments that isn’t a big deal in the broad scheme of things but I found interesting and relevant.  I’m at the beach taking some time and thought I would drop this in a post.  We all know that the web has given us a tremendous amount of value in software and capabilities.  At the same time, each and every day I recognize that this same tremendous proliferation of software has almost made managing all the sites, downloads and apps a full time job as well.  Take this example from this morning…

Earlier this week I changed back to an iPhone from Android so I’ve spent that last few days loading it up with a bunch of apps.  One of the apps is Instagram, an app I’ve wanted to try and gave up waiting for it to come out on Android.  Anyway, downloaded the app, took a picture, picked my filter and was given my choice of channels to send it to.  So, in his case, I sent it via email to my wife, sent it to Facebook and decided to not put it into my Twitter stream.   Then I saw that I could send the photo to Posterous, a service I signed up for long ago but had used in some time, so I thought, send it there too.  And then software took over…

All of of sudden, this nice photo ended up on this blog and in my Twitter stream.  What happened?  I forgot that at some point back when I signed up for Posterous, I also said of course publish anything posted on Posterous I would also want to publish to Twitter and to this blog BUT I should be smart about it and only do it when I am the author (that way I can control it what cross posts).  So all software operated as instructed.  But things that I did not intend to happen at the time I published this photo did.

So it turns out that I now need two new services:

1. Service Tracker  –  A service that keeps track of all the services that I’ve signed up for.  This I’ve been wanting for years. At one point, I used Friendfeed for this purpose and it seemed to work well but I feel I need something specifically designed for this purpose.

2.  Service Auth Tracker – I would now like a service that tracks all services that I have authenticated and authorized to access data in other services or to cross-post.  This post demonstrates the cross-post issue.  Who knows how services I’ve allowed to use my social logins or to access my social data stream.

Okay, time to hit publish.  I wonder when these two new services will be built and by whom?  Where this post will now publish to is a whole other question.

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Posted via email from loupaglia’s posterous

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Positive Vision, Not Negative Outlook

Google Wave has taken the world by storm and been the talk of innovation since it was demonstrated months ago. Invites going out like concert tickets and for better or worse, early returns are coming in. This morning on the train ride into the city I read Scoble pronouncement that Wave is over-hyped. There is fantastic follow-up conversation that I recommend in the comments discussing it even further. Louis Gray also discusses.

So is Google Wave the New New Thing? Who knows? Scoble, Gray and many others probably have fair points. I have no idea if it is going to be successful. In fact, I haven’t even used it yet since I wasn’t opened to the system (not one of the worthy 100k, thanks Google!). I’d like to discuss a bigger question.

Why so negative? (Said another way, a very provocative question is “Why be so quick to judgment?”) Who knows what the future holds? In the beginning, Twitter showed no purpose to me. I have a personal post to prove it. I made the mistake to be very quick to judge the service at the time and quite honestly give the thing time to ferment. I later remedied my incorrect early impression. I think people confuse how they look at the service now as opposed to the service we were all looking at it when it first came out. And that quick rush to judgment has bigger negative consequences.

When Friendfeed switched to a real-time interface, I came very close to making the same mistake. It was blistering fast, hard to follow and there was a lot of noise in the channel just like when you follow tons of people in Twitter and just watch the stream. Very valid points BUT to a certain extent, it is the wrong way to look at things. It took a few months, but once I got used to the service, I couldn’t even go back to “refresh mode”, I loved real time. Back in August,I reflected and was honest with myself as to what I thought at one point no longer was valid…for me.

The goal or premise of Google Wave was to re-define what we mean for collaboration and by folding into the framework the concept of real-time, public and private conversations, threaded and nested conversations: really the merging of email and IM/chat which has been the standard collaboration conversation paradigms of the past couple decades.

Some say, impossible, there is too much email lock-in to change the way people communicate in an email like channel. Why? Are we actually saying that we will not advance from the email we know today? That cannot be. With that attitude, we are set collectively to never create anything game-changing and new. Again I reflect, back in the 90’s, a little search company came out and I laughed (negatively) and wondered if these two guys didn’t understand that Yahoo! owned the search market. We know how that story ended. And that is why I don’t say things like “don’t come out with new search engines, you cannot beat Google, they have too much share and power.” Is it daunting? Of course it is. But not impossible. Microsoft, a gorilla, is under threat in the enterprise and the office productivity space. We would never have thought such a thing could occur, many still don’t.

Building good enterprise software (often regarded an oxymoron) is hard and often failed but that doesn’t mean we will not continue to innovate in the space.

I close this post tying it back to Google Wave. Will it be successful? Who knows? What I can say is that it shows an enormous amount of vision, positive vision about how it can change the collaboration and real time communication world. It is so early in the evolution, let’s see where we go, viable use cases, incremental improvement, additional feedback loops incorporated into the product. And finally, let’s not lose sight on what huge factor: the open development community will harness some real power and value in this ecosystem. Just like what happened with Twitter. Twitter evolved from a simple user interface with a white box to type “what are you doing”. It would be no where near as pervasive today with the significant developments around its API and the community developing apps with vision on how to leverage a one-to-many communications framework.

Let’s give this some time. Let’s give it a chance. That is what makes innovation so great. Building and investing in things that do not seem possible, initial ventures that are seemingly dumb and improving the status quo.

Guess I woke up on the right side of the bed this morning.

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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:

DALMATIAN : DOG ::

(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.

Nano Tweeting, the next little little thing

Many have seen the video already but I think Slate’s video about Flutter is too good not to post. If you haven’t seen it, are a Twitter fan (or not!) and want something to make you smile on a Tuesday, take 3:44 of your life to watch this video.



People simply do not have time any more to read 140 characters. Classic good stuff.

Putting a business hat on for just a moment, I can’t believe Slate didn’t name the parody company on a URL that they own and could market around in some way. Re-direct to a betting site?

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Personal Dialog 1 – Social Media 0

Perhaps as strong as we think social media is for interaction and getting to the quick answer, it hasn’t quite surpassed the value of personal contacts and interaction.  I have one story that at least indicates that.  And I will be honest, I thought social media would have won this one in a land slide.  Anyway, here’s the story:

Last Thursday night, my wife and I were watching the BCS Championship game and a pretty good commercial for the Big 12 came on.  The next day, my wife wanted to know the song that was played during the ad but couldn’t seem to find it.  The next thing I know she’s on the phone calling the station and then following up directly via email with a contact at the Big 12 conference.  I immediately jump in and say there is a much better way to come to that answer, we need to just drop the question on Twitter and Friendfeed, surely someone knows and can tell us immediately.  So that is what I did here at Twitter and the follow-through on Friendfeed, and Facebook status too.

To my surprise, not only did I not get the answer but not one response in either medium.  This was really shocking.  And sure enough, my wife received a very warm response from the Big 12 this afternoon.  I should also say kudos to them for such sound customer intimacy to reach out and reply to the request and in a timely manner.

This test is, of course, a small sample size and obviously not one where any conclusions can be drawn.  Perhaps it was this particular question and 9 out of 10 times, I would receive a response in a flash.  Perhaps it was the way in which I asked.  Perhaps no one knew the answer (or watched the bowl game because there is no playoff system).

Or perhaps even in a world where social tools and social media is getting so much hype, we really cannot lose focus on the value of personal dialog and one-to-one communication.  I do not believe any of us have lost sight of the value of personal interaction, not by any means.  But there are times where social media (in our echo chamber) seems like the panacea for information gathering and dissemination.

This was a good reminder for me that each have their place and can be used effectively together.

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