Archive for the ‘Web X.0’ tag

Google+/Facebook war

Jul 13, '11

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This guy described what I think about the emerging G+/FB war better than I probably could.

… the Circles team lead had said:

“…[We know] the danger of this, but were counting on the fact that facebook wouldn’t be able to change something so core to their product. [adapt to Circles model]”

I had originally assumed that he meant facebook would lack the agility to make the necessary technical changes, so central to their system. But I was wrong–the real point was that they would not be willing to change direction so fundamentally.

Now, I’m not saying that Circles is the one killer feature to bring down facebook–not at all. What I am saying, however, is that these two products are not playing on an even field. Like Microsoft and online Office, it is incredibly difficult for facebook to make fundamental changes to their product suite to answer competitive threats. It is for this reason I feel that Google+ has a genuine shot at dethroning facebook.

My theory is exactly same: FB won’t change something so core to their product. Look how they mimicked “following” with their pending friend requests.

On the other hand one big advantage that FB has is its maturity in social science. G+ is still a pure technology play around Circles model. The real question in the long run is who’s better at innovating in both technology and the new social model of online humanity.

In his own words:

The big problem will become quite apparent that there’s no noise control [in Google+]. Yes, this is what made FriendFeed, Google Buzz, and other systems seem lame and why Facebook continues to be more interesting to most people in the world.

Respectfully disagree. Facebook most cleverly (of what I’ve ever seen) takes advantage of network effects. It grips a person with its tentacles of friends, tags, invites, friend suggestions and bashes their head at the entrance door until it hangs open. It only tightens the grip once in – the more people you have in Facebook the more you are attracted to it. And there’s basically no exit door. Look how many people admit to have love/hate relationship with Facebook – it’s like smoking.

Noise filter in Facebook comes at a cost of employing algorithms that people don’t understand. I argue this is a no-no for social software, at least at this stage. Facebook can get away with it for all other things it does best of the crowd.

Noise makes people miss content not abandon the venue. Otherwise Twitter wouldn’t ever make it. Robert, there are still people reading their Twitter streams, you know.

Ah, that good old ‘career vs impact’ dilemma.

Mike Jones, the Userplane founder and former partner now busts his ass to make sense of MySpace. What’s in it for him? I don’t believe it’s money. Mike seems to work hard to actually make something fresh out of the legacy-cursed thing. I’ve seen many announcements from him (ironically on Facebook) about the progress MySpace was making recently.

And yet MySpace is now for sale until it’s probably too late. It basically means that this social behemoth of yesterday can’t secure its position even in the music/entertainment niche (would fit News Corp perfectly), let alone return to the leader position in social networking. Apparently News Corp believed in “don’t fix what’s not broken” myth for too long. Now MySpace is clearly broken and has been that way for several years already.

And yet somehow Jones’s strategy is the same, if accelerated. I would bet good money Mike understands that “enhance” approach doesn’t work when “redefine” is the only option. Does the parent even allow him to do anything radical?

Did Mike have any aces in sleeve? Did he believe MySpace could become relevant again by doing baby steps instead of breakneck jumps? Or was it a resume-oriented move? An intermediary step further from being an AOL executive towards more meaningful gigs?

I tend to believe the latter.

But what do I know. All the nuances and controversy of such a choice can only be felt when faced directly. Maybe Mike is up to something really exciting that might just work so everybody (including me) would just shut up. That seems to be possible if only Jones’s intentions are true, not politics-based.

Steve Jobs once really nailed it:

I don’t think of my life as a career,” he says. “I do stuff. I respond to stuff. That’s not a career — it’s a life!

I believe that’s the best attitude towards anything you do in life. It just keeps your vision clear from mirages and road dust. Think hard and long of what you stand for and then find ways to make real, visible impact.


Feb 9, '08


2234436083_8c69e892eb_o.jpg I hope it never happens. I hope Microsoft is not going to swallow Yahoo. I clearly don’t care that MS is going to drain its resources by the acquisition and by the crusade to rewrite the whole Yahoo world in ASP.NET. I find it really sad that Yahoo is going to be killed.

One of the Internet pioneers, the only old giant still alive and making good products. Yes, it suffered from mismanagement by Terry Semel but hey, shit happens. They can survive it, I hope this hostile bid is also the case.

Folks get rid of your MSFT and YHOO stock if the transaction goes through.

RSS to email

Oct 10, '07

A lot of internet companies adopted blogging systems for news/press purposes, and a lot of internet users learned how to read RSS. This is the new, truly democratic way of syndicating and personalizing content.

The problem is that effective volumes of internet users still don’t know (or don’t want to learn) how to use new technologies. That is why direct email marketing is still relevant and is going to kick long years forward. Nothing can in visible future fully replace news delivery right to one’s inbox regardless of the curvy roads it walks – obscure SPAM/not-SPAM definition.

This leads us to the idea that one of the most useful services around the RSS phenomena nowadays is RSS to email delivery. A lot of users appreciate old and familiar newsletter subscription form instead of learning what the heck to do with your feed URL and how to use RSS readers. This is crucial to remember if your business depends on those not tech savvy. I’m speaking of old timers – usually a very purchase-driven audience.

When reviewing several RSS-to-email services I found r|mail. It does what it supposed to do right on the homepage in the best manner of Web 2.0 services. This very post is to test their delivery ;)

Oct 12 update: No email from rmail. :( Trying out other services.

Oct 15 update: This time it’s great with rssfwd. Feel free to check this service. We’re putting this to skalfa.com index page with the nearest site update.

Spam Marketing 1.0

Sep 23, '07


I received an email notification about a new CMS.

Not another joomla or wordpress, it’s a simple service allowing to create and edit pieces of formatted text to paste into webpages easily. It surely is a useful service with a great idea behind. Probably it’s going to fly, but I just didn’t like the way it’s taking off. It was plain email spam because I never subscribed to their mailing list. One person commented about that and they responded with a message like “send email to feedback@domain and we’ll unsubscribe you”. Hmm… questionable marketing practice in the world of spammers starting getting into jail.

There are better ways to promote your products. No matter how good they are you can’t just rush into one’s inbox being sure it’s going to be appreciated. Even myspace spam is more tolerable than a good old unsolicited “great news” email. Shame on you.


Sep 12, '07


red_logo.jpgCool service. What I find especially cool about it is that it allows to do nothing and still benefit. You download a desktop application spying your musical tracks being played and telling the service about them. So, last.fm knows what you listen to and dares suggest something new as well as connect you with other members.

Personally, I only use it as a log of what I listen to. Putting a widget on this blog was really easy and now I have a self-refreshing playlist watch for those interested. For a busy(lazy?) type such as myself it’s really a turn-on. How do you guys use last.fm?

On the business side of things it’s a really smart idea to help people benefit without any noticeable time/emotion commitment from their side. This is very important in today’s chaos of websites trying to win your attention and time. Also, it deals with music, something of the very few things that youngsters are ready to pay for. Thus an affiliate deal with a CD-selling third party really changes financial situation for a company of a last.fm scale. Keep up the good work guys!