These are my Delicious links for September 24th through March 8th:
- Seth’s Blog: Don’t Shave That Yak! – A thing that I do, which I shouldn't.
- SnapABug visual customer support – Another live support feature for your website, but this one includes screen capture to help troubleshooting.
- Buzzzy – A Search Engine for Buzz. – Google Buzz search with an API.
- New Facebook Statistics Show Big Increase in Content Sharing, Local Business Pages – Facebook historical statistics as of February 2010 based on previous updates to their public statistics page.
- Lost Moon Radio: Live Band Karaoke With The Moon Units – Live band karaoke in LA. Available for parties and private events. Very fun!
- Fixed to Flexible – The Ebook – A free 37 page eBook on high-level microeconomic business theory with solid practical examples. The primary focus is on margin, specifically the pricing and cost strategies that go into that equation. It's a very quick read, concisely and clearly written with very illustrative (if somewhat over-simplified) examples.
For me, the most interesting ideas were on 'constructing value' for a previously unknown product. First, you need to have a compelling free offering so there is minimal risk to customers trying your new product. Secondly, you should take the lead in setting the perceived value of your new product by using an 'anchor' of premium pricing even if you end up selling at a discount to it.
- The Twitter Engineering Blog: Introducing the Open Source Twitter Text libraries – Twitter releases libraries for parsing tweets.
- Great Lake, a Chicago Pizza Shop, Enjoys Being Small – Question – NYTimes.com – A very interesting story about a small artisan pizza shop in Chicago that was reviewed in GQ as one of the best pizza shops in America and how they are (or rather aren't) dealing with their newfound success.
"We really enjoy the work that we’re doing and we don’t want to cheapen it. Consciously or unconsciously — probably both — we’re trying to create a manageable way to earn a living and still maintain our sanity. We value time as much, if not more so, than money."
- Give-A-Fuck-O-Meter – Saving this to send to people in the future when they tell me something I could care less about.
- The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage – Conservative attorney Ted Olson, a member of the legal team challenging the federal constitutionality of California's Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage, explains his rationale for participating in the case as a conservative American who wishes to preserve and forward the fundamental principles on which this country was founded:
"Conservatives and liberals alike need to come together on principles that surely unite us. Certainly, we can agree on the value of strong families, lasting domestic relationships, and communities populated by persons with recognized and sanctioned bonds to one another. Confining some of our neighbors and friends who share these same values to an outlaw or second-class status undermines their sense of belonging and weakens their ties with the rest of us and what should be our common aspirations."
- YouTube – Sugar: The Bitter Truth – A very interesting, if long and sometimes quite technical (it is a med school lecture) explanation of the scientific, socio-economic, and political reasons our food is making us less healthy as a nation (and ultimately a planet) in the last 30 years. It centers around increasing our refined sugar intake, in particular fructose, which has the same long-term chronic health effects as alcohol.
- The Third & The Seventh on Vimeo – One of the most amazingly photo-real works of CG animation I've ever seen.
- Facebook Developers | Extending Facebook Share – Mention of awe.sm in the official Facebook blog post announcing their new sharecount button and data APIs.
- How Best Buy plans to beat Wal-Mart – Dec. 1, 2009 – A strategy to make Clayton Christensen proud. Best Buy is betting that the consumer electronics and computer markets have not yet reached a good enough point where cost is the only factor. By providing an integrated buying/service solution with their in-house Geek Squad division, Best Buy hopes to differentiate from retailers like Wal-Mart who are commoditizing the purchase experience. In this case Best Buy is playing the Apple Computer role to Wal-Mart's WinTel approach.
- What’s strategic for Google? – An interesting and concise analysis of Google's various product/business initiatives using a simple but intuitive strategic framework.
- 500 Internal Server Error – 500 Internal Server Error
- Entrepreneuring…Side Effects | Howard Lindzon – A humorous (but all too true) list of the potential side-effects of starting your own business.
- Paul Buchheit: Open as in water, the fluid necessary for life – A very interesting rationale for the potential common good of social media behavior that is increasingly referred to as "over-sharing". The more we share about what we think and do, the more information will be available to help improve ours and others' future decisions.
"The basic pattern of openness is that better access to information and better systems lead to better decisions and better living. This general principal is broadly accepted, but we're just now discovering that it also applies to the minutiae of our lives."
- The New Music Business Model: Imogen Heap « Deep Dive Marketing – A very thorough account of the many ways Imogen Heap is using different social media services (i.e. Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, uStream) as a cohesive whole to build deeper relationships with her most engaged fans.
- Ping – How Sharing Links Has Become Big Business – NYTimes.com – NY Times article on the democratization of influence on the web and the roll of individuals and their social networks as traffic drivers.
- 20×200 : Print Information : think-make-think (second edition) – If I were ever to hang an inspirational print on my wall, this would be it.
- Communilytics: Applied Community Analytics: Web 2.0 Expo New York 2009 – Co-produced by TechWeb & O’Reilly Conferences, November 16 – 19, 2009, New York, NY – Web 2.0 Expo panel on which I will be speaking on 11/16/2009
- Op-Ed Contributor – Wall Street Smarts – NYTimes.com – A deceptively simple (yet likely true) explanation of the underlying cause of the financial meltdown: the level of Wall Street’s intelligence finally caught up with that of its greed.
- Twitter to Facebook: 5 Ways to Post to Both – Mashable mention of TweetPo.st.
- Letters of Note: Okay, you lazy bitch – A great letter from Hunter S. Thompson to a production executive on film adaptation of his book “The Rum Diary.” If you know anything about the film business, you know that sometimes cursing and threats of bodily harm are more than appropriate, they’re necessary 🙂
- No. 1 With Bullets? USB Uzi Is Latest Killer Album Format | Underwire | Wired.com – Wired blog coverage of the upcoming release from Get Busy Committee, which will be available on Uzi-shaped USB drives.
- 100 years of Big Content fearing technology—in its own words – Ars Technica – A well-compiled overview of the arguments used by content industries to stifle various production and distribution innovations from the gramophone to the DVR. The overriding theme being that incumbent content producers are more inclined to seek government intervention (usually through sensationalist fear-mongering tactics) to protect old models in the face of new technologies rather than to figure out ways to improve their businesses to take full advantage of the benefits these technologies afford.
- Olark – sell better using live chat – Live chat tool to interact with customers on your website in real-time.
- 30 Under 30 2009 – Hype Machine Profile – Very nice write-up of my friend Anthony Volodkin, founder of the Hype Machine, named #27 in Inc. Magazine’s 30 Under 30 for 2009. He definitely should have been higher 🙂
- The power of no reward | Derek Sivers – An interesting article on the difference between ‘Social Mindset’ and ‘Market Mindset’. Actions driven out of personal volition are more authentic and the motivation is more powerful though more difficult to activate. Whereas actions driven out of financial calculation are by definition more mercenary — easier to activate, but of less value and harder to maintain. If you can appeal to someone’s ‘Social Mindset’, you cheapen your offer by invoking their ‘Market Mindset’.
- The Power Of Passed Links – A framework for thinking about the relative value of inbound traffic from different sources based on conversions (however one defines them) and growth. The hypothesis is that links passed from friend to friend via channels like Facebook and Twitter will have significantly higher conversions.
- Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes: Get Wasted With The Day, In Robes recorded Aug 31, 2009 – Live session with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, including downloadable tracks.
- Official Google Blog: Leave the math to us: Advertisers increase their profits using Conversion Optimizer – “Each and every time someone types in a search query, AdWords runs a new keyword auction. Advertisers who are still bidding on a cost-per-click basis will be using the same bid in many different auctions, so sometimes their bid may be too high or too low. However, for advertisers using Conversion Optimizer, we’ll automatically adjust the bid for each of these auctions so that it can hit the sweet spot more often, helping the advertiser to make more money.”
- Seed is the new Series A for VCs | VentureBeat – A good overview on the move by later stage investors into earlier “seed” rounds along with advice for entrepreneurs on raising a pre-Series A round.
- Know all those Retweet Buttons across the web? Well now Facebook has one. – The first write-up on fbShare.me, from The Next Web.
- Awe.sm Lets You Track Articles Shared Into Facebook – Write-up of the latest Snowball Factory product, the fbShare.me sharecount button for Facebook.
These are my Delicious links for July 21st through August 31st:
- Thingfo powers Biggest Gleek social media game for Fox hit “GLEE” – finding, channeling and rewarding the top evangelists at Thingfo blog – Announcement of the new social media game for the Fox TV show Glee, built by Thingfo and powered by awe.sm.
- Facebook | Publishing to Twitter from Facebook Pages – Facebook has released a feature that enables Fan Page owners to syndicate their updates to Twitter automatically.
- 500 Internal Server Error – 500 Internal Server Error
- Peer-to-peer ‘(un)classes’ match interest with passion – Springwise – Another nice write-up of (un)classes.
- Unclasses.org Launches | Culture San Francisco – DailyCandy – A nice (if oblique) write-up in Daily Candy SF on my side-project (un)classes.
- Hitwise Intelligence – Robin Goad – UK – An interesting post about Twitter traffic growth in the UK. But, the most interesting part is the chart showing sources of traffic for various vertical categories of websites. Notably that over 40% of traffic to sites in the 'Entertainment' category is coming from either Twitter or Facebook. This reinforces my hypothesis that social media is a particularly powerful marketing channel for content.
- The Smart Growth Manifesto – Umair Haque – HarvardBusiness.org – 20th century economies are limited to unsustainable, unfair, brittle, dumb growth. Smart growth is more sustainable, equitable, and resilient based on 4 pillars:
1) Outcomes, not incomes
2) Connections, not transactions
3) People, not product
4) Creativity, not productivity
The inefficient legacy technologies for measuring growth forced us to reduce our understanding of it to purely quantitative terms that don't accurately represent the whole point of progress: to advance humankind. People do not measure happiness and satisfaction in purely quantitative terms, yet those have become our de facto measures of success. Now that we have the capabilities to measure the effects of qualitative goods, we should abandon our legacy tactics that reduce progress to mere numbers.
- Confessions of an Executive Producer: earn it – "The irony is consumers have never been easier to find but never harder to reach. As I see it brand/consumer relationship is analogous to that of a married man to his mistress. For years the affair was a simple proposition. He wined and dined her. Bought her jewelery. Paid her rent. In return he got laid and left guilt free at the end of the evening. After years of this pattern, the mistress begins to feel used and unsatisfied. She desires more than material goods. She wants conversation. She wants to be listened to. She wants to be in a relationship. Much to the displeasure of the adulterer, sex can no longer be bought. It has to be earned. I believe the same thing is happening today with the brand/consumer relationship. Brands must earn consumers time not simply purchase it. The problem is they don't know how and don't seem eager to learn."
- Tweetpo.st – Update Facebook & Twitter At The Same Time | Visit tweetpo.st – Write-up of TweetPo.st on the Killer Startups blog.
- TweetPo.st – the smart way to update Facebook from Twitter « EverythingTwitter – Write-up of TweetPo.st on the Everything Twitter blog.
- TweetPo.st, aggiorna facilmente Facebook da Twitter – Geekissimo – A write-up of TweetPo.st on an Italian technology blog.
- TweetPo.st – a smarter way to update FaceBook from twitter – A write-up of TweetPo.st on twi5, a Twitter tools site.
- Master of 500 Hats: How to Pitch a VC (aka Startup Viagra: How to Give a VC a Hard-On) – Dave McClure's excellent presentation on how to structure a startup investor pitch (oh, and it's funny too).
- the blip.tv blog : blip.tv: the next generation – "Over the course of the last century the television networks (and their younger cable siblings) have evolved into nearly perfect businesses. Unfortunately, however, they have optimized for a historical condition: an oligarchical economy of scarcity. The networks are perfect for an era of expensive production, limited distribution and ubiquitous attention.
2009 is not 1949. Modern consumer electronics and the Internet have ushered in a new economy of plenty. Production costs have decreased at an astounding rate. Distribution has become ubiquitous. It is no longer necessary, for all but the most ambitious projects, to seek out a studio to bankroll your pilot and a network executive to green light you for a time slot. Your talent and work ethic are now greater predictors of your success than who you know."
- How to Pitch to a VC or Angel – ReadWriteStart – A collection of high-level tips for startup investor pitches, including Guy Kawasaki's 10 slides / in 20 minutes / with 30pt font rule.
- Maturation of the Twitter Ecosystem – A very cool presentation about how the ecosystem of Twitter applications has evolved over time (featuring a shout-out to TweetPo.st on slide 31).
- TweetPo.st a smarter way to update Facebook from Twitter – Another nice write-up of TweetPo.st, a Snowball Factory product 🙂
- LocalBunny Gives Businesses Custom Twitter Bots, But It Longs For Old @Replies System – LocalBunny is a new paid service targeted at small businesses that will auto-respond to keyword mentions on Twitter with @replies based on user-defined rules. The kinds of use-cases mentioned as examples are interesting and the app sounds good on paper. But, I'm not sure I'm fully convinced that auto-responses will be successful in a medium like Twitter with such a high value placed on authenticity.
- BackType — Blog Archive » Tweetcount Widget & Plugin – Announcement of the new awe.sm-powered Tweetcount widget from BackType. It shows the number of times the current page has been tweeted using the BackTweets API and uses awe.sm to create new tweets.
- Brand Mentions Preferred over Ads – eMarketer – Study showing that earned media (i.e. consumer/press brand mentions) and permission marketing (i.e. *solicited* emails) are more effective than paid media in general and interruption marketing (i.e. banner ads and pop-ups) specifically.
- Digg the Blog » Blog Archive » DiggBar and Digg Short URLs – Digg reverses course on their URL shortener and states that they have no intention of marketing it as a conventional URL shortener. It is solely a way to share Digg pages.
- 10 Impressive New Implementations of Facebook Connect – TweetPo.st (né TweetFace), an application built by our company to connect Twitter and Facebook, was included as #7 on Mashable's list of "10 Impressive New Implementations of Facebook Connect". 🙂
- TweetMeme Blog » Retweets Are Go – Announcement from TweetMeme that their popular Retweet button now supports awe.sm.
- Sharing on Facebook Now More Popular than Sharing by Email – Data from the AddToAny showing that Facebook is now the most popular sharing channel for their share widgets. This data claims Facebook has 24.0% of shares while email has only 11.1% of shares. However, this is inconsistent with ShareThis data from less than a year ago that still had email near 50% of all shares.
These are my Delicious links for June 9th:
- Writing Microcopy – Bokardo – Good advice on the importance of descriptive microcopy in product design. Sometimes it's the most obvious (and least sexy) things that drive the biggest value.
These are my Delicious links for April 17th through April 21st:
These are my Delicious links for April 10th through April 15th:
- 15 Places to Find Great Fonts | Lists | Tutorial Blog – A list of sites where one can find free fonts.
- The Quiet Coup – The Atlantic(May 2009) – A very interesting in-depth analysis of the rise of the financial oligarchy in the US over the last 20 years and how it has created dynamics similar to those of emerging market economic crises, according to a former chief economist of the IMF. “In a society that celebrates the idea of making money, it was easy to infer that the interests of the financial sector were the same as the interests of the country—and that the winners in the financial sector knew better what was good for America than did the career civil servants in Washington. Faith in free financial markets grew into conventional wisdom—trumpeted on the editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal and on the floor of Congress.”
These are my Delicious links for March 31st through April 2nd:
- Social Media ROI – Solid presentation on how to approach social media marketing from a quantitative perspective. Most interesting are the examples of different types of social media campaigns to drive different business goals. There is no one-size-fits all social media marketing campaign.
- The Lab – A web-based Sass -> CSS compiler. Sass is basically a shorthand way to write stylesheets for your website. It allows for nesting with two spaces. Also, it can do some basic math with constants. No more going around your CSS files updating the size or color of something.
- Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable « Clay Shirky – "When reality is labeled unthinkable, it creates a kind of sickness in an industry. Leadership becomes faith-based, while employees who have the temerity to suggest that what seems to be happening is in fact happening are herded into Innovation Departments, where they can be ignored en masse…With the old economics destroyed, organizational forms perfected for industrial production have to be replaced with structures optimized for digital data. It makes increasingly less sense even to talk about a publishing industry, because the core problem publishing solves — the incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense of making something available to the public — has stopped being a problem."
- Changing Nature of Virality: Facebook and Twitter – A consolidation of interesting stats from Hitwise on percentages of traffic to entertainment sites driven by Twitter and Facebook. For example, perezhilton.com's biggest week ever was driven primarily by traffic from Facebook (8.70%) over Google (7.62%). It is clear that for certain types of sites, particularly entertainment-oriented, 'viral' discovery is an increasingly important discovery mechanism being fueled by the growth of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
- The Rising Power Of Social Media As A Traffic Driver – Fred Wilson on the impact he's seeing to traffic on his own blog from Twitter and Facebook: "Links are the currency of the web and traffic is money so these are important trends for our portfolio companies and for everyone who does business on the web."
- Tony Hsieh: Zappos In The Business of Selling “Happiness” – This was a really great presentation that i was lucky enough to attend in person. Some of my favorite quotes were "Hire slowly, fire quicky", "When all your employees live the brand, you don't need to rely on marketing and PR to handle all your communications", and "We decided to take all the money we would have put into marketing and put it into making the customer experience better." While I do feel that Zappos sounds more like a management/corporate culture experiment than a business, I still think there are a ton of great lessons that less altruistic businesses can apply. My primary takeaway was probably on Slide 17 of the presentation, the idea of "Committable Core Values": having a company mission that is actionable for every employee.
- Economy Tech trends in 2009 by Mary Meeker (Morgan Stanley) – An omnibus presentation on the current economic climate and the high-level trends that will drive the technology industry in the near future. The first ~40 slides contain some really interesting data and charts on the larger macroeconomic situation and are worth looking at even for people not interested in the technology industry.
- The Memefication of Your Band – A more pragmatic take on the entertainment-as-a-service concept focused on how musical artists can more effectively promote themselves. "Your band must invade the Perception Economy. Your Band must no longer be a band. Your band must be a meme. A Meme Which Generates subMemes. These memes must be compelling, intriguing, and interesting enough for people to ‘follow’ or at least think that you are ‘worth following.’"
- High-tech Market Research and Consulting – Quantitative application of the Lanchester model, a WWII military strategy framework, to business in which market share is the proxy for number of troops. Interesting theoretical construct for understanding how players with differing market share should seek to compete in order to maximize their competitive advantage — i.e. smaller players should seek to segment a larger market into smaller pieces in which they can compete closer to market share parity while larger players should seek to compete in the broadest market possible to maximize the value of their dominance.
- WordPress › WP Greet Box « WordPress Plugins – A very useful WordPress plugin that shows visitors to your blog a unique greeting message depending on the page they are visiting from. E.g. Ask users coming from Digg.com to Digg your post, etc.
- Chat Catcher – An interesting service to help you track mentions of your blog posts across Twitter, FriendFeed and identi.ca and aggregate them back to your blog. The coolest thing is probably the 'Scriptless' version which can run on WordPress.com and other hosted blogs.
- Viral Arts: Making you money… Virally – A potentially interesting service that matches YouTube video producers with brands willing to pay them for product placement.
- The changing face of usability testing: Optimal Workshop releases free service called Treejack » VentureBeat – Basic DIY usability testing tools that allow you to test designs in the form of online surveys. Simple, elegant, and IMHO 80/20 effective (vs full-service usability testing software).
- Why Bit.ly Will Upstage Digg – Definitely what I would be working on if I was in charge of bit.ly. While analytics were the initial draw for sharers to use bit.ly, recognition as an influencer could be a differentiator now that others like cli.gs and tr.im are commoditizing analytics for shortened URLs. I totally agree with Om that a bit.ly powered Digg (Bigg?) would produce much more interesting and representative results than Digg, which has come to be dominated by an idiosyncratic user community. Also, I think it would be foolish of Bigg to be reserved to bit.ly URLs. Why wouldn't they want share/click data from all the shortened URLs they can get it for?
- Topspin » “Josh Freese. What are you doin’? This summer.” – Brilliant (and hilarious) showcase of how the internet can make even the way you sell your art part of the experience. Definitely worth the read! My favorite is the $10k package, which includes: "Josh takes you and a guest to Club 33 (the super-duper exclusive and private restaurant at Disneyland located above Pirates of the Caribbean) and then hit a couple rides afterward (preferably the Tiki Room, the Haunted Mansion and Tower of Terror) / At the end of the day at Disneyland, drive away in Josh’s Volvo station wagon. It’s all yours … take it. Just drop him off on your way home, though, please."
- Relationship Symmetry in Social Networks: Why Facebook will go Fully Asymmetric – Bokardo – A very interesting analysis of the difference between the asymmetric relationship model of Twitter (arguably pioneered by Flickr) and the mostly symmetric relationship model of Facebook today and why the reality of attention inequality is a barrier to Facebook's growth as long as they stick to symmetric relationships.
These are my Delicious links for March 2nd through March 4th:
- THRU YOU | Kutiman mixes YouTube – Unbelievable remixes of music samples from various YouTube videos into really great songs and fascinating videos. This is the poster-project for Remix culture! (hope someone sends it to Lessig)
- Good design: The ten commandments of Dieter Rams – A great collection of rules on how to design products. While originally meant for physical products (industrial design), I think many of the rules still apply to online products and web design. Some of my favorites:
– Good design makes a product useful
– Good design helps a product to be understood
– Good design is unobtrusive
– *Good design is thorough to the last detail*
– Good design is as little as possible
And some quotes:
"The aesthetic quality of a product – and the fascination it inspires – is an integral part of the its utility."
"Things which are different in order to simply be different are seldom better, but that which is made to be better is almost always different."
(And on a personal note, my late grandma had Rams's Cylindric T2 lighter in her apartment when I was a kid and I always got in trouble for playing with it, but its design fascinated me.)
These are my Delicious links for February 19th through February 25th:
- HTML URL Encoding Reference – Handy table of the URL encoded values for ASCII characters.
- A foot and a half: Finally, A Use for Twitter – Greatest Twitter story evar! I actually saw these tweets from @the_real_shaq while this was happening, now we get the backstory from the guys for whom they were intended. I <3 Shaq!
- The Crisis of Credit Visualized – Astute, approachable, and just plain pretty animated explanation of our current economic situation. Oh, and did I mention INCREDIBLY FRIGHTENING!? Once you realize how simple, and thus fundamental, the underlying problems are, it becomes very difficult to believe in a quick or easy fix. Now, back to stuffing my remaining cash into my mattress…
- How Freshbooks Built an Army of Passionate Evangelists on Twitter. How are YOU doing so? | Blog of Mr. Tweet – A great story from a company passionate about serving customers and building relationships with them (CRB = customer relationship building) and how they extended the reach of that passion through Twitter. Worth the read.
- The Missing Google Analytics Manual | FutureNow’s GrokDotCom / Marketing Optimization Blog – A comprehensive collection of the most helpful links and videos to teach you how to get the most out of Google Analytics.
- Coding Horror: Commandos, Infantry, and Police – Quotation of a legendary analogy from Robert X. Cringely’s “Accidental Empires” published in 1993. Cringely characterizes the successive waves of employees who staff a company through its lifecycle from startup to industry leader to incumbent as commandos, infrantry, and military police, respectively.”The [commandos’] job is to do lots of damage with surprise and teamwork, establishing a beachhead before the enemy is even aware that they exist. Ideally, they do this by building the prototype of a product that is so creative, so exactly correct for its purpose that by its very existence it leads to the destruction of other products. They make creativity a destructive act.”
- Add Community to your Site with Triggit! – An interesting idea of using Twitter as a platform to create user communities for your site (a la MyBlogLog). The differentiator is supposed to be that the community discussions happen publicly on Twitter, thus driving more traffic to your site.
- GroupTweet – Cool simple tool to create what are essentially Twitter group mailing lists. You set up a Twitter account for your group, register it with GroupTweet, and then it’s just a bot that RTs any DMs sent to the group account. In order for a group member to be able to post to the whole group, they need to be followed by the group account. And you can control who reads the group messages by protecting the group account’s updates. Simple, elegant, effective.
- Analytics Talk » Blog Archive » Tracking Sub Domains with Google Analytics – Best article I could find on how to track subdomains properly in Google Analytics. Surprised they don’t do it right out of the box. But, these easy to follow instructions and screenshots will get you sorted quickly.
These are my Delicious links for February 19th: